First Class of Master of Education Students to Graduate from Claflin University

May 11, 2017

The inaugural class of graduates in Claflin University’s Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction (M.Ed.) program will receive degrees during the University’s 147th Commencement Convocation on Saturday, May 13, 11 a.m. at the South Atlantic Seventh- day Adventist Convention Center, on Neeses Road in Orangeburg, S.C.

The list of graduates includes Aubriaunna L. Bodrick, a native of Orangeburg, S.C. who now resides in Columbia, S.C. and Jarrell C. Rogers, a Bishopville, S.C. native.

Bodrick earned her Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education with a minor in English and Spanish in 2012 at Claflin.  She always had a passion for teaching, but Bodrick tried to stray away from her family’s long legacy of educators.

“When I was younger, I played school all of time and pretended that our living room was my classroom,” she said. However, when I enrolled as an undergraduate at Claflin, I began as a business major. I quickly realized teaching was my calling and I changed my major.”

Bodrick currently teaches fourth grade, English and Language Arts (ELA) and Social Studies at Bethel- Hanberry Elementary School in Richland County School District Two. She previously taught third grade at Burton-Pack Elementary School in the Richland County School District One and as a student teacher, she was assigned to Bethune – Bowman Elementary in the Orangeburg Consolidated School District Five. Her experiences in the classroom inspired Bodrick to return to school to earn a master’s degree. She was immediately attracted to Claflin’s M.Ed. program which offered online classes and the flexibility she needed to juggle her teaching and academic responsibilities.

Claflin’s Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction (M.Ed.) program offers all classes online and students can complete the program and earn their degree in 18-months.  The program was launched in 2015 and designed to meet the needs of 21st century teaching and learning by offering academic and research opportunities for educators and administrators. The program is open to certified teachers and professionals with bachelor’s degrees in education or related fields.

“It is an exciting time for Claflin as we celebrate the first graduates of the M.Ed. program,” said Dr. Nicole Strange-Martin, who is in her first year as dean of Claflin’s School of Education. “This degree is critical for our graduate students. It provides the training and expertise they need to become visionary leaders in education and prepares them for highly-successful careers as educators.”

Graduates of the program qualify to lead successful careers in public and private sector education, non-profit organizations, government agencies and corporations.   

Rogers’ pursuit of a graduate degree and his eagerness to learn led him to the program.  He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in mass communications with a concentration in public relations in 2013 from Claflin.

“I wanted to pursue another degree after my earning my bachelor’s,” said Rogers. “I felt like my education wasn't complete.”

After careful consideration and prayer, he enrolled in Claflin’s M.Ed. program.

“The adjustments from the mass communications coursework to the master’s level, education coursework were significant. However, I applied the same work ethic that I used during my undergraduate years to this program,” Rogers said.

Rogers currently serves as the case manager for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program in the Lee County Department of Social Services in Bishopville, S.C. His career aspirations include becoming a regional performance coach for the state of South Carolina.

“Working full-time for social services and being a full-time student was a new experience for me. Time-management skills played a major role during the process of obtaining my degree this time around. The 18 months it took to earn this degree has made me mature in a way that I've never seen,” Rogers said.

“Being the first class to graduates from this program feels amazing. Working with other students and having access to my professors and the dean are what made this program a success,’’ said Bodrick, who credited the late Dr. Bettie Hicks with guiding her through the program. Hicks served as director of student teachers and field experiences as well as the coordinator of the M.Ed. program at Claflin. Bodrick’s short-term goal is to become a reading specialist and ELA coach. She also plans to earn her doctorate in education and work at the school district level in a supervisory role. 

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