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ACE Alumni Spotlight: Aaron Straus

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Welcome to the ACE Alumni Spotlight, where we highlight alumni members and share what they are up to.

Aaron is an instructional coach and STEM coordinator at Salamanca City School District in Salamanca, NY. He led a task force to start Salamanca’s summer STEAM Camp, helped design a state-of-the-art STEM center and helped implement the Next Generation Science Standards. A student of engineering himself, Aaron has earned several awards, including the New York State Society of Professional Engineers Contribution to Education Award and the Margaret Ashida STEM Leadership Award.

In addition to his professional accomplishments, Aaron has completed an extraordinary number of programs at ACE. This includes the M.Ed. in Educational Technology, the M.Ed. in Integrated Curriculum, the M.Ed. in Advanced Studies, the Certificate in Content Area Instruction, the Certificate in Virtual Instruction and the Micro-credential in Educational Technology.

ACE: When and how did you know you wanted to have this career?

Aaron Straus (AS): I started college with a focus in art and English. After I earned my undergraduate degree, though, I found it hard to secure a job teaching either subject. My mentor encouraged me to try educational technology since I’ve been interested in computer technology since childhood. At the time, I was not certified in educational technology, but I applied for several positions anyway. That short-term, placeholder job became a career that I fell in love with.

ACE helped me achieve the credentials needed to work in educational technology and STEM. I use the skills I learned at ACE every day.

ACE: What are your tips for completing an online program?

AS: Have a strong support system. Be willing to give up your weekends for a season. Share your heart. Write what you know. Find the educational literature to support your teaching philosophy and assignment goals. Get into a good routine and don’t stress!

ACE: What made you decide to complete a second degree at ACE?

AS: I wanted to secure state certification in educational technology and virtual instruction, and I was interested in exploring science at the graduate level. ACE had both opportunities so, though it wasn’t my original plan, I pursued a second and even third degree from ACE!

ACE: How has your ACE degree helped you in your career?

AS: Coming from an arts background, studying at ACE gave me the STEM knowledge and confidence boost I needed to pursue engineering as well.

ACE: Personally or professionally, what are you loving right now?

AS: I love being able to tell colleagues I hold a master's degree. Studying virtual instruction was also very helpful in the wake of COVID-19.

If you have additional questions for Aaron, please feel free to contact him via the ACE ASK Network.

If you’re thinking of doing another program, ACE alumni can come back and save $250 to $1,250, depending on the program, plus you won’t pay an application fee. See details here.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of American College of Education.

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