Circle of Vision Alumni: Crystal and Jason
Past Alumni: 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011
Graduate: Davis & Elkins College
Scholarships made it possible for Crystal Bible to attend Davis & Elkins College (D&E). The support and encouragement she received from professors there helped her to hone a career plan and realize her passion for teaching.
As a junior, Crystal Bible considered dropping her education concentration so that she could graduate early with a bachelor’s degree in history. Looking back, Crystal is thankful that one of her professors sat her down to talk about career options and encourage her to attain a teaching certificate as well as graduate education.
Crystal’s ultimate decision to persist paid off. After graduation, she found a full time job in Upshur County, working as a special education teacher. “It’s uncommon to find a full time teaching job right out of college—I’m fairly blessed,” she says. “Had I gone to a big university and not had the push from my D&E professors to continue my education, I don’t know what I’d be doing right now. I don’t know that I’d be teaching.”
Crystal teaches children with disabilities and exceptionalities in a self-contained setting, which she admits can be very challenging. “There are some tough days,” she says, “but it’s also very rewarding to spend time with the students and to get to work with them one-on-one. Watching them excel is amazing. You can make a huge difference in students’ lives.”
D&E’s education program prepared Crystal well for the field. “From the very first course, I was working in a classroom,” she says. “You start out just observing, but by the time you finish, you are student teaching. You can write lesson plans, you feel confident, and you know how to manage a classroom. You really are prepared.”
Though she has already found a rewarding job, Crystal is still motivated to move forward. She’s pursuing a master’s degree in multi-categorical special education.
“I’m never going to be done learning,” she says. “Every day, I learn something new. Maybe after this, I’ll get another master’s degree in another, more specialized area. But I will always be teaching. I don’t think I’ll ever stop.”
Graduate: Wheeling Jesuit University
Major: Athletic Training
Jason Pelinsky is a wonderful example of how Circle of Vision Scholarship fund contributions multiply once in the hands of recipients. Jason plans to address one of the Mountain State’s pressing problems—the need for better rural health care access in West Virginia.
When Jason was preparing for college, he didn’t have a clear direction in mind. He knew that he enjoyed studying the sciences but was undecided about a specific path. “I picked Wheeling Jesuit University because I wanted to get more attention. I wanted to make sure I was going to get the best education I could,” says Jason.
Wheeling Jesuit University (WJU) proved to be a favorable environment. Jason appreciated the liberal arts education, which allowed him to explore different interests and broaden his perspective. He says he benefited from small class sizes as well. “In classrooms of 20-30 students, professors are able to key in on the areas you need help with. You are not overlooked—they help push you to success.”
Jason decided to study athletic training, a new area of study at WJU. As part of his training, Jason worked with the Wheeling Nailers, Bethany College’s football team, and several WJU teams. He was also involved with Appalachian Outreach, which focuses on helping rural counties in West Virginia. Jason has made some trips to rural areas of West Virginia and was struck by the lack of health care options but heartened by the prospect of helping people. “I really enjoy patient interactions and the ability to create relationships with people,” he says. I like the idea of working with people with low health literacy, of helping them out and creating a relationship with family medicine.”
In May, Jason will graduate from medical school. He’ll perform his graduate medical education training in the department of family medicine at the West Virginia University hospital. Jason was selected for a rural scholar residency, a 3-year, early acceptance program that involves a concentration on patient care in areas with limited health care access. His current research plans involve studying lifestyle management and decisions that lead to obesity and obesity-related illness.
“My ultimate goal is to complete my family medicine residency and get a fellowship to do sports medicine training—and then to come back full circle by working in a rural area. Athletes in those areas also need access to sports medicine, I’d like to increase access to sports medicine in a rural setting,” says Jason.