Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Leadership lived: Future teacher gains valuable experience working at the UIS Cox Children’s Center

Rhilee Cochran is gaining valuable experience working at the Cox Children’s Center at the University of Illinois Springfield. The elementary education and psychology major plans to use the lessons she’s learning when she becomes an elementary school teacher.

“As a student-employee, I go around to all of the rooms and just help the teachers out wherever they need extra assistance,” she said. “Whether that’s just sitting with the kids at nap time or helping them out with lessons. It can be all kinds of different things.”

Cochran was recently honored with the Student Affairs Division’s first Student Employee of the Month award in recognition for her outstanding work at the children’s center.

“I want to work with kids just because I really like learning and I really enjoy children,” she said. “It’s just fun to see them grow, especially here at Cox Children’s Center because you can see them all of the way from the infant room up to the preschool room.”

In addition to working at the Cox Children’s Center, Cochran is also currently completing her pre-clinical observation hours at a Springfield elementary school as part of her degree.

“You learn a lot from the time in the classroom, more than I think when you’re just sitting in class listening to a lecture,” she said.

As a commuter student from Mt. Auburn, Illinois, Cochran says she chose UIS because of the right-sized supportive community and quality education.

“I just really like UIS not only because it’s close to home, but because I like the close-knit community that is UIS,” she said. “I really like how it’s a small school. I can’t walk across campus without seeing somebody that I know and will say ‘hi’ to me.”

Cochran says she’s learned many lessons about how to define leadership at UIS.

“UIS has taught me that leadership can come in many forms,” she said. “It can be helping kids make octopuses out of play doe or it can be leading a campus-wide project. There’s lots of different ways to be a leader, so it’s not just one set thing saying you’re a leader.”

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