Special Education Major Finds Passion in Student Access to Education

By Catie Gross
Marketing & Communications Assistant

Traveling the world while pursuing her passion for education has become a reality for University of Cincinnati education major, Hannah Salzbrun. Salzbrun says she does not have the glamorous story of always knowing she wanted to be a special education teacher, but she did find inspiration from her family and travel experiences.

Growing up as the youngest and only girl in a family of six, Salzbrun looked to her parents and brothers as role models. She followed in her brothers’ footsteps by traveling to India at the age of 11 through a program called CISV. She found the most inspiration from her dad who has a degree in corrections but now works in the nonprofit field.

This encouragement from her family led Salzbrun into the field of special education. She developed strong opinions about access to education and educational equality for children of various ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

“I couldn’t decide what I wanted to teach or what age to teach, but I did know that I wanted to work directly with people on a daily basis,” said Salzbrun.

This past semester, Salzbrun was a student teacher at Bridgetown Middle School where she worked with seventh graders and created adapted lesson plans to cater to their individual needs. She finds it rewarding when she can engage a discouraged student who struggles to keep up in the classroom. She tries to get her students to understand the end goal and guide them through the process to achieve that goal, while continually stressing the importance of finding value in what they are learning. She strives to help her students think critically so they can be confident problem solvers in school and beyond.

Through her recent excursions, Salzbrun has reinforced her passion for education. She traveled with Serve Beyond Cincinnati, a UC student organization, where she engaged in community service in Orlando and Georgia. She also returned as a trip leader for CISV to Colombia. She was able to work with the children to plan their travel activities, practice teaching methods, and work with other leaders to provide a quality experience for the children.

Salzbrun plans to graduate in the spring of 2015 and become a third grade intervention specialist in Cincinnati. She will take on a co-teaching position, reaching children with mild to moderate special needs and adapting the material for their learning styles.