Virginia Counselors Association Annual Convention

conferenceThis was my second year attending the VCA annual convention, and I loved it just as much if not more! The amount of information and professional skill building you receive by attending conferences are so invaluable. Particularly, I enjoyed the keynote speaker, James Lloyd. James touched on the importance of being an individual who enters a room and says “There you are!” rather than “Here I am!” This concept is so critical to not only the field of counseling but just to society as a whole. Additionally, James talked about how we can constantly advocate for ourselves as counselors, but also in believing in ourselves. For example, when creating a new password for a website or online account, we should try making it an affirmation about ourselves such as “I can do anything”. This way, we are exposed to this every day and are reminded of it constantly. Connecting with professionals in the field is a fantastic way to network as well as to encourage my growth in the profession. Connecting with Longwood alumni was a great bonus, as well as connecting with other graduate students studying at other Virginia graduate schools. I’m grateful for the opportunity to grow professionally and personally at the VCA conference!

ASHA Convention

20141122_11574720141122_122354  I had the pleasure of attending the annual convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in Orlando, Florida this fall. I was unsure of exactly what to expect from the convention, but it exceeded any expectations by far. I was able to attend copious oral seminars and technical reports by the most prominent speech-language pathologists in the field. I was able to attend a session on pediatric feeding and swallowing by a woman who is considered to be the expert in that field. That particular session cemented and expanded upon the informationa gained in my graduate coursework in feeding and swallowing disorders here at Longwood. I attended many other sessions some of which pertained to craniofacial anomalies, childhood apraxia of speech, autism, and stuttering disorders. All of the aformentioned sessions enhanced my knowledge of those disorders and better prepared me to work with those populations in my future career.

As a person who is from and will return to the Orlando, Florida area, this opportunity was especially beneficial because I was able to network with many employers. An extensive number of employers from the area held tables within the exhibit hall. I was able to discuss future employment opportunities and preferred applicant qualities with many of them. As I am graduating in May 2015 and have begun thinking of my career following graduation, I have become interested in pursuing a PhD program. A session was held at the convention in which several PhD graduates discussed the application process and requirements for students interested in doctoral programs, which was very helpful. I was honored to be one of the two students representing Longwood at the ASHA Convention and I am eternally grateful for the rewarding experience.

VAASL Conference_Roanoke

SoterKaren_VAASLI wasn’t sure what to expect at the conference. This was my first conference and I have to say it was great. There were so many sessions to choose from. I didn’t arrive until Friday, so I was only able to attend the Saturday sessions. I attended 4 sessions, each one giving me some great information.Web 2.0 Tools Are Elementary gave me some great ideas for technology, for example ways to use Google Docs, Animoto and QR codes. I enjoyed learning about Makerspace. I wasn’t familiar with this until the conference. My only regret is that I didn’t come earlier. Can’t wait for next year!

Virginia Counselors Association (VCA Convention 2014)


(left to right) Lisette Bennett, Chelsea Carroll, Ashlie Robertson, and Elizabeth Forman

I attended the Virginia Counselors Associations (VCA) Convention in Williamsburg, Virginia. It was a wonderful, exciting, and educational experience. The convention began on Thursday and ended Saturday afternoon. It was a very valuable experience to be able to attend various sessions on different topics throughout the counseling field. I was able to attend eleven different sessions. I really enjoyed the keynote speaker, James Lloyd. James did a great job captivating and inspiring the audience. I also enjoyed the humor he blended into his speech. One of my favorite experiences during the convention, was having the opportunity to be able to converse with counselors practicing in multiple settings and agencies.

I really enjoyed that the convention was in Williamsburg, VA. It was nice to be within walking distance of Colonial Williamsburg. During the lunch sessions, it was very easy to walk to Colonial Williamsburg to get a bite to eat. Furthermore, it was nice to be able to spend time with fellow Counselor Education students and hear about the sessions they attended. Overall, I had a fabulous experience at the VCA Convention and I am so thankful that I was given the opportunity to be able to go and learn new techniques and ideas that are occurring in the counseling world. I look forward to implementing some of the ideas I was given into my current internship.

Great Conference

get-attachmentThe two days I spent at the VaASL conference filled my mind with so many new ideas and understandings about the impact that a school librarian can make on learning in the school.  Paige Jaeger’s remarks inspired me to strive for a higher standard for myself because my work with students can make the difference in preparing them to participate in society as literate citizens.  There were so many interesting sessions that it was difficult to choose which one to attend.  I learned about new books as well as how to use old standards in new and exciting ways.  The technology sessions revealed lots of great ways to use tools to improve instruction both in the library and throughout the school.  Walking around the vendor area helped me better understand the resources that I can utilize to strengthen my collection.  One of the best parts of the conference was spending time with my Longwood classmates!



20141108_120056I attended the VAASL Conference in Roanoke, Virginia.  It was an exciting and educational weekend.  This was my first professional conference and was impressed at the choices that were offered to me.  I started my weekend with reviewing positive behavior management in the session, “Are you spending to much time on discipline?” The presenter went over core beliefs that are the basis of positive behavior management.  One belief that made a particular impact on me is that caring is key.  I have found this to be super important in the classroom and I am interested in how a librarian shows kids that she cares when she sees most students for a very brief time.

Next I learned about good picture books to use with older students.  I was introduced to Patrol by Walter Dean Myers.  This gripping, suspenseful and thought provoking story is done in a picture book format but is definitely not appropriate for anyone below middle school.

I also learned a lot in “Family Reading Night:From Hot Mess to Big Success.” The presenter had great ideas that I can’t wait to try.  I learned about some great tools in “Using Web 2.0 Tools in Your Library”.  Lastly I gained a ton of resources from Dr. Audrey Church’s session, “Top Ten Topic and Trends”. I look forward to attending The VAASL Annual Conference again next year.

VAASL Conference 2014

11-17-2014 8-49-57 PMI had a wonderful time attending the Virginia Association of School Librarians (VaASL) conference this November in Roanoke, Virginia. I enjoyed meeting experienced librarians and attending a variety of sessions. Here were some of the highlights:

  • Listening to Thursday’s keynote speaker and leading researcher on sustained silent reading, Stephen Krashen. He highlighted a 2013 study from the UK which showed that reading books often at the age of 10 and reading books more than once a week at the age of 16 has a greater impact on student reading ability than any other factor, including socioeconomic status, being read to as a child, visiting the library, or the education of the parent. This study, along with much of Krashen’s other research, supports my current school’s focus on SSR and continued commitment to giving students time to read choice novels during the school day!
  • Learning about new types of technology, such as Voki, where students can select an avatar of their choice to read a piece of text, or record their own voice reading the information. By using the program, students are given a way to publish their work and develop a larger audience than just the teacher.
  • Attending the session titled “Repackaging Research for the Hyper-connected Millennial.” In the session, the Paige Jaeger explored ways to increase the rigor and relevance of research projects by focusing on essential questions that encourage inquiry, vocabulary of the discipline, and a knowledge product. She gave numerous examples on how to transform a research packet into a purposeful assignment that encourages students to wonder, investigate, find meaning, discover, synthesize, and draw conclusions from what they learn.

Overall, the conference was a worthwhile experience. I am excited to use my newfound knowledge however I can throughout the school year!


Virginia Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (VAHPERD) State Conference, November 7-9th 2014

Longwood wins first VAHPERD Trivia Bowl!

Longwood wins first VAHPERD Trivia Bowl!

While taking a year off from teaching and returning to Longwood for a masters in adapted physical education, I looked forward to attending this year’s state conference. VAHPERD is always on the cutting edge offering many different insights into the different aspects of physical education. By far my favorite session I attended while at VAHPERD was meeting with the Sun Wheelers, a wheelchair basketball team; not only did I learn about wheelchair basketball but I also got to play it! From sessions like “inclusion in action” to “utilizing evidence-based practices to teach motor skills to children with Autism spectrum disorder”, I was able to come away with such valuable knowledge that I can’t wait to return to my school district and share these new ideas. In addition to sitting in on sessions that have enhanced my understanding of adapted physical education, I had the chance to witness Longwood’s undergraduates win the first ever VAHPERD trivial bowl! Overall it was a great weekend and I can’t wait to return next year see what’s new in the world of physical education.

VAASL 2014 in Roanoke, VA

IMG_4702I enjoyed attending this year’s VAASL Fall Conference in Roanoke, VA, and experiencing the professional rejuvenation of participating in conversations with talented librarians and students from around the state, listening to inspirational presentations by master librarians and published authors, and thinking about how the information applies to my studies. Some of the highlights included:

  • Learning about technology and free programs that can be implemented within the library and classroom to enhance student experience
  • Dr. Church’s “Top Ten Topics and Trends” – how one person can speak so quickly and cover so many amazing topics in such a short time is beyond me. Simply incredible!
  • Spending time with Longwood students and faculty!

Fun at VAASL

vaasl pic

selfies with authors!

I had a terrific time at my first VAASL conference!  We did not get to stay at the Hotel Roanoke, which was too bad since the hotel itself was absolutely beautiful.  However, the hotel that I was at was a 2 minute drive to the conference.  The three big highlights of my trip were:

  • Listening to Neil Shusterman talk and read from his books, including a selection from his soon to be published book.  He was witty and personable and seemed like he truly enjoyed speaking to us.
  • The talk given my Sharon McQueen, from Old Dominion University was amazing!  She spoke about picture books for older readers and introduced so many different titles to me.  Her passion for the subject was evident in her excitement as she presented.  Her talk was tailored down from 90 minutes to 45 minutes, but I was lucky enough to have been able to stay for a bit to chat with her about the rest of her presentation. I was very glad to have gotten a list of titles that were introduced.
  • Getting to see Roanoke.  I’ve never been there before and I had a blast exploring the city center with my cohort friends and my family.

I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to see different presentations.  I only wish that I was able to go to more sessions.  Maybe next year!



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