COLLEGE PARK, MD (March, 2017) – Chris Flores, a student in the College of Education’s Master’s Certification Program (MCERT), was selected as one of two winners of the Middle States Council for the Social Studies’ 2017 Bernice Samalonis Award.
Flores received the award—given to current social studies students—at an event in Rehoboth Beach, Del., in February during the annual conference for the organization, whose members are educators in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia. Villanova University’s Laura Campbell was the other recipient of the award.
“It was a really great experience being one of two people honored in the five states,” said Flores, who graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, before enrolling in the master’s program in College Park.
Flores is currently taking part in a full-time internship at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, where he’s teaching U.S. history to a mixed-level ESOL class.
Before starting his graduate program, which allows students to earn their master’s degree in one year and get classroom experience, Flores worked as an after-school youth team leader for the city of Gaithersburg, where he ran sports and community outreach programs for high school students. That, paired with his experience as a history tutor and helping ESOL students in their history lessons, led him to explore teaching as a career.
“It’s one thing to know history and social studies, but to teach someone the skills and not just the answers was intriguing to me, and a career path I wanted to go down,” he said.
Growing up, Flores didn’t always connect with his teachers or see them as role models. However, from his experience both in high school and later working with teens, he wants to serve as a mentor to his students and “to be the teacher I wanted in my life.”
Flores is expected to finish his master’s program in July and continue teaching. He may also be returning to the University of Maryland, College Park, in the future, as he is considering pursuing a doctorate degree.