College:College of Community Innovation and Education
Degree Program:Educational Leadership MA, Higher Education/College Teaching and Leadership Track
As a first-generation student, Torres recognizes the importance of education, though she also sees the obstacles the system may present. As well as a desire to help people and a passion for education, was the motivation for Thalia Torres to pursue a master’s degree in Educational Leadership at UCF. “My passion for continuing to pursue a degree in education is because I understand that there are many less fortunate populations and even people in general, who have not reached a level of education not because they aren’t ‘smart’ but because of the many other factors that affect the success of a student,” she says.
Torres' passion for helping others carries on to her own life. Her dedication and service to the campus and community are shown through her involvement in various programs. Torres is part of the Literary Arts Partnership, through which she teaches weekly poetry workshops to adults at a mental illness recovery center. In addition, she participates in the Trojan Mentorship Program through the Children Home Society of Florida, where she has the privilege of mentoring a high school student bi-weekly and is active in her local church, providing crafts to the children. She also assisted with the Florida Prison Education Project, helping to offer high-quality undergraduate education to incarcerated people in Central Florida.
“I desire to give everyone a community in which they feel loved because, in my life, the people who showed and created this atmosphere for me at my low points helped me to move forward," she says.
Torres first graduated from UCF with a bachelor's degree in English, Literature with a minor in Psychology. She chose to remain at UCF for her graduate studies due to the plethora of opportunities and connections at UCF. Torres also received a graduate assistantship with the Knights Major Exploration and Transition Center (KMETC), working as an advisor. The position provided her with meaningful experience and a platform to help students on an academic level. “I cannot express my gratitude enough for institutions that open doors for their students, like UCF has done for me,” she says.
In her master's program, Torres had to specify a discipline to gain the knowledge and experience to teach that discipline upon graduation. Through this requirement, she discovered her love for the English field. After graduating this spring, Torres plans to continue her studies at the University of South Florida, pursuing a PhD in English, Rhetoric, and Composition.
Torres advises students to slow down and enjoy the present. “Give yourself the space to enjoy what you are doing, where you are, and the people around you on this journey,” she says. She notes that graduate school is a blessing few can say they have the resources to achieve, so students should take time to appreciate the ride.
In the future, Torres looks forward to teaching so she may continue working towards bringing more opportunities to the community. “I hope that, if even just through an English or Creative Writing class, I can be a part of that community for others.”
- College Teaching and Leadership Graduate Certificate
- Professional Writing Graduate Certificate
- Graduate Assistantship with Knights Major Exploration and Transition Center advisor
- Literary Arts Partnership (LAP)
- Florida Prison Education Project (FPEP) at UCF
- Trojan Mentorship Program through the Children Home Society of Florida
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