The GSE Presents NJ’s First Ed.M. in Dance Education Graduates


New Jersey's first class of students in the Dance Education Masters program will be graduating from the GSE this May. This program, developed jointly by the Mason Gross School of the Arts Department of Dance and the Graduate School of Education, allows students the option of a five-year joint degree program, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) and Master of Education degree (Ed.M.). For those who have already possess a B.F.A. degree, there is also a post-baccalaureate Ed.M. program. Upon graduation in May, students will have earned a PK-12 dance teacher certification, allowing students the opportunity to assume teaching roles in elementary and secondary schools, community centers, centers of dance and arts institutions.
We caught up with some of the students to talk about their experience in the program:
   Christy Velazquez     Andrea Guadagno       Jenna Kiefer         Megan Hebert        Caitlin Krow        
 Kelli McGovern
GSE: What was your favorite part of the program?
CV: "I cannot pick just one part of the program because everything in this program has helped me grow as a dancer, educator, and person in ways I never thought I would. Being under the guidance of Dr. Barbara Bashaw and working with my  talented and intelligent colleagues have both been incredible experiences."
AG: "The authentic tasks and "real world" applications promoted throughout this program made this experience invaluable, but my favorite part was working with Dr. Bashaw (whom I loving call, "Dr. Dance").  She has been an amazing mentor, and I will forever be grateful for her wisdom and guidance."
JK: "I really enjoyed the student teaching aspect of the program.  I felt that it gave me first-hand experience with working in a school for 8 hours a day.  I could focus on lesson planning and how I interact with students. I also enjoyed talking with my cohort. We are all very different teachers and it was invaluable to hear their thoughts and opinions."
MH: "Being part of a very smart cohort.  Interacting with my professors and peers enriched my experience in the EdM program and I had fun."
CK: "I love the community that has been built between my cohort, Dr. Barbara Bashaw and other GSE faculty, and the MGSA dance department.  My colleagues and I have been given so many opportunities for networking and professional development that I know I would not be able to find at any other institution."
KM: "My favorite part of the program was the amazing opportunities Dr. Barbara Bashaw gave us to experience real world applications of the material we were learning in class. We were constantly being given chances to see first hand how we could implement what we were taught."
GSE: What do you plan on doing after graduation?
CV: "After graduation I hope to find a job as a dance educator in a public school in New Jersey or New York! I also plan to continue to pursue a performance career in dance."
AG: "The Dance EdM program has been the catalyst for so many new and amazing opportunities.  I am unsure about where the paths will lead, but know now, that I am truly prepared."
JK: "I am currently job searching.  I would like to either stay at the school I am currently working in or find another school in my area that has a dance program.  I will be working dance camps over the summer, which will give me even more experience. Eventually, I believe I will want to work in the education department of a performing arts organization facilitating outreach efforts to the community."
MH: "I plan to work as a dance teacher in a public school.  I would love to create and implement new dance programs for New Jersey schools."
CK: "After graduation I want to pursue my career in dancing and choreographing at the professional level.  I plan to start a dance company and/or performance group, and have my choreography shown in venues throughout NJ and NYC.  I love that I’ll still have my teaching certification available for when I’m ready to “settle down” from the professional dance world."
KM: "After graduation I plan to pursue a career as a performer and a dance educator. I plan on going on auditions for dance companies and am currently exploring the option of becoming a teaching artist in various venues throughout New York and New Jersey."
What advice do you have for students considering applying to the Dance Education program or current students?
CV: "Stay motivated and have trust in your abilities!"
AG: "At least for me, this program was an amazing opportunity to self-reflect and not only learn and grow as an individual, but as an educator and a mentor for others.  I only hope that current and future students can experience the same."
JK: "My advice would be to stay as involved as possible.  I know that many of the students in my cohort (including myself) had to travel to get to class but we still made it to many of the events that the GSE and Mason Gross had to offer.  The program will be two intense years, so embrace it and work hard. Not only will you further yourself as a teacher, but you will also progress as a dancer."
MH: "The EdM program in Dance Education allows you to blend your passions for dance and teaching so have fun with it!"
CK: "Just relax.  Sometimes as dancers we tend to be self-critical and doubtful, however know that Dr. Barbara Bashaw and the GSE will provide you with an experience that will make you a more reflective, passionate, and skilled artist and educator. It’ll pay off in the end!"
KM: "The personal growth you will encounter from the start of the program to the end of the program is unbelievable.  The way you think about dance will change, as will your actual dancing as a result. You will learn so much about the dance field that you never knew existed, and realize the knowledge you have gained gives you a much more critical and reflective way of thinking. "
Learn more about the Ed.M. in Dance Education and the recent graduates by attending their celebratory presentation on Thursday, April 26 from 4:45 to 7:45 PM at the Continuous Studies Conference Center. At the event Ed.M. candidates will unveil their web-based artistry/teaching portfolios and share materials they have developed over the course of the program.
Additional information on the program is available by clicking here.