By Sloane M. Perron, Manager of Marketing Communications
Sydney Stebbins, a sophomore Early Education student from Maine, caught the attention of students and faculty with her “Get Your Format On” event set up at the Information Commons. Colorful tables, fun childhood games, and elaborate prizes including a big screen tv drew students in, but the goal was to teach students the academic formatting styles of MLA, APA, and Chicago.
Childhood games were given new academic meaning as students worked to learn proper citations. Students who completed all nine games were eligible to win the television grand prize.
“I definitely heard from students that they had a lot of fun playing the games, that it was an interesting twist on childhood games that we all love to play, like Jenga, Connect Four, and Twister, because in my eyes, college students are just big kids,” Stebbins said, “So it just kind of brought a piece of childhood back in a way that was also educating.”
The “Get Your Formation” was the final part of Stebbins’ summer internship with Anna Maria’s Writing Center where Writing Center Director, Dana Sheehan, served as her supervisor. During her internship, Stebbins was tasked with creating a “legacy project”, a project that could still be run and benefit the college even after Stebbins completed her internship or even graduated.
Stebbins spent all summer planning her legacy project and particularly wanted to engage freshmen students who might need a refresher on citation formatting. As an early education major, Stebbins understands that individuals learn in different ways, and she wanted to incorporate that aspect into her project, so it was accessible for all.
“I love games and I love writing, so this is where this idea was born,” Stebbins said.
Stebbins enjoyed the comradery of the Writing Center and credits Sheehan for providing her with professional skills and experiences which not only look impressive on her resume but have a tangible impact.
As a future educator, Stebbins looks forward to using creative approaches, like her board games, to connect with children of all ages and learning ability. In the world of education where children are struggling to regain the academic momentum that they lost during the pandemic, Stebbins believes it is important to recognize that there is no “one size fits all” to learning. Instead, she hopes to individualize the learning process and focus on student success.
Stebbins’ enthusiasm for the field of education is reflected in the fact that she is already employed part-time as a behavioral therapist at Positive Behavorial Supports Corporation and is a work study student at the Writing Center. In addition to her busy career, Stebbins is also fully involved on campus as well. She is a member of the field hockey team, the manager for the lacrosse team, and serves as the Marketing Chair of the PAC E-board while sitting on the SGA Board for PAC.
“I never in a million years thought this would be my summer. I mean, I was really shy, stayed in my dorm didn’t go out. But I realized this is a small campus and I was looking around, I was seeing students getting great opportunities. And I was like, I want to do that. That’s what I want to do with my college career. So, I kind of like stepped up during second semester and was like, ‘What can I do to make this happen?’”, she said.
Stebbins decided to take advantage of every opportunity that Anna Maria presented as she pushed outside of her comfort zone.
“It taught me to put yourself out there because you’re not going to accomplish anything if you don’t put your best foot forward and you’ll never know until you try,” Stebbins said.