Ukrainian education student at ENMU aspires to open an English school for orphans in rural areas of her home country


Elina Tsalyn is majoring in early childhood education with a 3rd-grade pre-kindergarten license at Eastern New Mexico University and plans to teach an elementary school after graduating in the fall. 2022.

Elina was born and raised in Ukraine, where she lived with her mother and three brothers until 2015, when she moved to the United States to work as an au pair. She lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Seattle, Washington before moving to Portales, New Mexico when she transferred to ENMU.

The university caught Elina’s attention because of the affordability and quality of the education program. She adds, “After living in Seattle for four years, I also wanted to move somewhere with as little rain as possible, and New Mexico seemed like a great fit.”

She enjoys the Greyhound life and appreciates how “friendly and welcoming everyone is at ENMU”.

The eldest says all the teachers she has had at Eastern have been “very supportive”, especially Dr Cindy Benge, an assistant reading teacher. “Dr. Benge went out of his way to make me feel welcome in his class,” says Elina. “From the first day of class, it was evident how much she cared about the success of her students. She was so compassionate and kind to me and truly inspired me to continue my journey to become a teacher. .”

When asked what inspired her choice of major, Elina shares that she has “always loved working with children, first as a volunteer at an orphanage in Ukraine, then as a preschool teacher in Seattle. , and I would like to start teaching in a primary level. »

She continues, “I look forward to having a classroom full of curious little minds that I can hopefully inspire and empower. The causes I’m most passionate about are fairness and equality, and I want to make sure every child in my class learns to appreciate their differences and feels valued.”

Elina also dreams of opening an English language school for orphans in small towns in Ukraine. She explains: “The orphanage where I volunteered didn’t have many opportunities for the children to learn and practice English, and I would like to make sure they weren’t left behind. .

She makes the most of her time at ENMU to achieve her goals: Elina is Vice President of Educators Rising, a student organization for future educators, and has worked at the Golden Student Success Center (GSSC), her favorite building on the campus. , since January 2021. She began her role as an additional teacher (IS) at the beginning of the fall 2021 semester.

The Dean’s List winner is the recipient of several ENMU Foundation scholarships and has received an international student tuition waiver.

The class that has stood out the most for Elina so far is technology for the classroom. She says, “I didn’t use a lot of technology when I was going to school in Ukraine, and I love learning about all the new devices and apps that I can incorporate into my classroom to make it more fun and interactive for kids. students. “

She offers advice for students interested in pursuing a degree in education: “The biggest piece of advice I would give is to make sure that teaching is what you really want to do. Our children deserve to have educators who genuinely care about their success and will ensure that every student receives a good quality education. Failure to do one’s best is a disservice to students, their parents and the community. Teaching can be quite stressful at times, but seeing kids have those “ahas!” moments when they finally understand a concept they’ve been struggling with, it’s all worth it.”

Elina’s hobbies include staying active, such as biking, hiking, rock climbing and working out in the gym. She used to box in Seattle and hopes to continue her training in Portales. On quiet days, she enjoys listening to music, reading and crocheting. She also loves to travel but hasn’t been able to take any trips recently due to the pandemic.

elina tsalyn by waterfall


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