Student Profile: Ryann McCollum teaches global equity

Tuesday, October 18, 2022
Ryann McCollum

GGSE: What made you want to be a teacher, and why an MST credential?
Ryann McCollum: I’ve always had a passion for community and known that whatever I end up doing as my life’s work will remain centered around that. Throughout my life, I have loved working with children, whether at summer camps or teaching gymnastics at the YMCA. However, I didn’t realize my love for teaching until I worked as a substitute teacher. During this time, I realized the powerful direct impacts that teachers have in the community. I hope to inspire the next generation of changemakers who are educated through a lens of justice and have a deep understanding of the environment and global equity. I believe teaching is at the grassroots of change. Especially given the social and political climate of the past few years, there is a need for energetic, caring, and passionate educators that will help lead a positive change in the public education system—and I’m here to do just that.

GGSE: What made you choose the Teacher Education Program (TEP) at UCSB to do your graduate school work?
McCollum: I graduated from UCSB in the Spring of 2020, meaning that my final quarter of undergrad was suddenly taken by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, I knew my time in Santa Barbara was not done. While working as a substitute teacher at an elementary school on the Westside of Santa Barbara, I not only fell in love with teaching but also worked alongside a multitude of UCSB TEP graduates. Based on how much I learned from watching them teach and how inspired I was by their quality of teaching and care for their students, I knew this was the program to obtain my education. This, coupled with the opportunity to continue establishing roots in the community and receive a master’s at the same time, was truly the dream. Not to mention, I’m returning to unfinished business to participate in a traditional UCSB graduation ceremony that I missed out on in 2020.

GGSE: Who was your favorite teacher in your life, and why?
McCollum: My favorite teacher in my whole life would have to be my mother. She was not only my first teacher but also my 9th-grade AP Human Geography teacher. I always looked up to her as an educator, seeing her create courses to inform students of global issues and create global mindsets. When she was my instructor, it was the first time I was taught from a non-westernized worldview. As a teacher, she was the first to apply a global context to my learning and provide my mind with enriching content.  Her love for the world influenced my field of study in college, as I was a Global Studies major, while her drive to further spread this knowledge was instilled in me throughout my life. Though I’m working in the elementary setting, it has been so special to share my initial teaching experiences with her and continue to learn how to be a better person and educator.

GGSE: If you have any free time (we realize how consuming TEP is), how do you like to spend it?
McCollum: I love how this question is framed because free time is now few and far between. On the weekends, I enjoy going outdoors and appreciating the Santa Barbara community. You can find me playing cornhole, slacklining at the beach, driving up and down the coast for the day, or out and about downtown. Come winter, I’ll be jumping on the mountain to ski every chance I have. Before the program started, I enjoyed aerial silks, yoga, and hiking, and I hope to re-incorporate these activities into my life as I find my balance. Finally, I love to travel and go to concerts and festivals. I’m taking every opportunity I can this year to go on weekend trips and have been enjoying more local concerts.