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World of Opportunities: Mary Parker

by Web on July 6, 2017

Mary Parker knows she is well on track to be prepared to teach school, thanks to opportunities she has had to interact with teachers and students. 

“I've been able to observe and interact with six schools so far,” said Parker, a Millsaps College junior from Ocean Springs. “I love these opportunities because I have learned so much about what it is to be a good teacher and that children are not cookie-cutter but are unique and different. I am extremely grateful to attend a school that actually trains me in the field instead of just having me learn from a textbook.”

Parker, who has declared a double major in education and music, credits Dr. Julie Rust, assistant professor of education; Dr. Debra Burson, visiting assistant professor of education; Dr. Marlys Vaughn, professor of education; Rachel Heard, associate professor of music; and Jonathan Trotter, interim director of choral activities, with nurturing her growth as a student.

“They have been very supportive of the decision that I made in the second semester of my junior year to double major,” she said. “Each has fostered a true love and devotion in me to be passionate about teaching music.”

Parker plans to teach middle school or high school choir and pledges to do all she can to help music programs thrive. “Because music programs are getting cut from schools all over our country, I really want to start or join an organization that will raise money to save music programs in public schools,” she said. 

After her first visit during her junior year in high school, Parker knew that she wanted to attend Millsaps.

“I loved how beautiful the campus was, but what really drew my attention was how kind all of the people I met were,” she said. “I met with the head of the Music Department, who contacted me throughout the year to answer questions I may have had, which also showed me that the school had a genuine interest in me as a prospective student.”

Parker enjoys the size of Millsaps because it makes it easy to get to know students, professors, and staff members.

“I had my best friend from Ole Miss visit me here, and I showed her around our campus,” she said. “She couldn't believe how easy it was to make it to each class without being late. What really shocked her was when we were walking through the bowl, and I spotted Dean (Brit) Katz, who yelled all the way across the Bowl and asked how I was and if I was having a wonderful day. After I responded and continued on our way, my friend said, ‘Wait... the dean knows your name?’ It's little things like that, which make me proud to call myself a Major.”

Parker has found time to be involved on campus as a resident assistant, treasurer of Mu Phi Epsilon music honorary, and vice president of member education for Kappa Delta Sorority, a role for which she was recently recognized with the Corre Anding Stegall Collegiate Leadership Award. She is also a mentor/tutor at Midtown Public Charter School in Jackson, a member of the Millsaps Singers, a scribe for Student Life, and a Presidential Ambassador. She will serve as a resident director for the 2017-2018 academic year. 

She is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honorary, Kappa Delta Pi education honorary, Order of Omega Greek honorary, and Sigma Lambda service honorary.

“The most challenging thing about being a student at Millsaps is probably the most rewarding thing... time management.” Parker said. “Being a very active student with on and off campus jobs, it can be very difficult to manage my time and ensure that I am meeting all of my jobs and responsibilities with 100 percent attentiveness. 

“I’ve learned to keep an agenda and to be honest with those around me. I find that as a student, it is very easy to bottle everything up and try to truck on, but I've found that my professors and peers are understanding people who want to help me succeed, so it's OK to lean on someone else every once in a while.”