Indiana State University Newsroom

Student group provides mentorship opportunities for education majors

April 27, 2015

Indiana State University education majors can get firsthand accounts of their own experiences in the teacher education program through CHILL (Colleagues Helping Implement Lifelong Learning).

It's an opportunity for students to engage in mentorships that build a community of professionalism, leadership and collaboration through an innovative, cross-curricular approach offered by faculty advisors and professors in the Bayh College of Education. Della Thacker and Cassandra Caruso-Woolard developed the idea after last spring's conference of the National Association of Professional Development Schools.

Eight Indiana State education majors jumped onboard and met every other week last summer to make CHILL an official Indiana State organization in the fall of 2014.

"Students set the agenda for our meetings and decide how CHILL can be involved on campus and within the community," said Thacker, associate professor in the department of curriculum, instruction and media technology for 32 years. "It's our job to give students an edge, and I think we're doing that with CHILL."

In her second year as an instructor in the department of curriculum, instruction and media technology, Caruso-Woodward said CHILL mimics how the public school system helps students gain experience.

"As current CHILL members go into the field, they come back as mentors for students in our introductory phase of the program," she said. "It's truly about lifelong learning and the students have led this charge with great success."CHILL is open to all education majors, student teachers, first-year teachers and tenured teachers. Even if they're not on the board of directors, students are urged to attend the organization's monthly, informal roundtables at University Hall.

"There is a lot of anxiety involved in our immersive field experiences and this student-led organization is helping to alleviate fears," Thacker said.Six CHILL members also had the chance to network with other education professionals at the 16th annual Professional Development Schools National Conference in Atlanta, March 4-7.

"I have always enjoyed helping people reach their potential and could see that this is what CHILL wanted to do," said Josh Manix, a senior mathematics and mathematics education major from Indianapolis and a founding member of CHILL.

During their poster presentation and 45-minute concurrent session, CHILL members provided an overview of mentorship opportunities through the organization's community involvement with Vigo County School Corp. and Terre Haute Children's Museum.

"I wanted to be more involved within the College of Education at ISU, and as a recent transfer student, CHILL seemed like a great way to immerse myself in the teaching community here," said Rachel Poer, junior English teaching major from Danville, Ill. "It's great for students who are just starting out in the secondary education program to get some help. We even have CHILL members who are now teachers that come to our meetings to hear what we have to say and give advice."

At the conclusion of the conference, NAPDS president-elect approached the Indiana State students about hosting a student event at next spring's national conference in Washington, D.C.

"The conference helped me market the knowledge and skills I've learned through the teaching profession," said Jacob Payne, a December 2014 social studies education graduate who was one of two students to make a presentation on CHILL to the Bayh College's dean, Kandi Hill-Clarke, Denise Collins associate dean, and John Murray, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

"I interacted with other university professors (at the conference) and brainstormed about how we could improve or add to CHILL, and presenting at a national conference definitely helps when filling out a vita or resume," Payne said.

At the conference, Caruso-Woolward, Thacker and three colleagues presented a base outline to validate CHILL's effectiveness using the data collected from students after each monthly meeting.

"In the future, we plan to conduct research initiatives and the students hope to publish in the NAPDS journal," Caruso-Woolward said. "We want the momentum the group has now to continue."

Follow CHILL on Twitter @ISU_CHILL or - Students in the Bayh College of Education's Colleagues Helping Implement Lifelong Learning are phiotographed at  the 16th annual Professional Development Schools National Conference in Atlanta, March 4-7, where they presented on the organization.

Contact: Cassandra Caruso-Woolard, instructor, or Della Thacker, associate professor, Indiana State University, department of curriculum, instruction and media technology, or

Writer: Betsy Simon, media relations assistant director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-7972 or

Story Highlights

CHILL provides education majors the chance to engage in mentorships that build a community of professionalism, leadership and collaboration through an innovative, cross-curricular approach of faculty advisers and professors in the Bayh College.

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