Where They’re Headed: Vivian Sun ’17

The biology major, who minored in educational studies, is pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education.

Vivian Sun ’17 is heading to Stanford University this June to make her dreams of becoming a teacher come true. Through the year-long Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP), Sun will work towards both a teaching certification and a master’s degree in elementary education.

Born in Philadelphia, the biology major and educational studies minor has lived all around the world, from Shanghai and Taipei to Edison, N.J. Sun grew up looking after children and helping them learn, teaching music in her mother’s Sunday school class and giving English as a Second Language courses while living in Taiwan and China. For Sun, a childhood spent taking care of children was excellent preparation for becoming a teacher.

“I love the idea that I could help young children grow and find new interests,” she says.

However, Sun could only partially pursue her teaching goals during her academic career in college. (The Bi-Co minor can culminate in a secondary teaching certification not the elementary one she sought.) So Sun took classes that covered education theory, philosophy, and social-justice pedagogy in the Education Department. Alongside her academic experience, her work with Fords Against Boredom and the Student Activities Office also provided her with useful experience interacting “with people from all ages and all walks of life.”

At Stanford, Sun will augment all of these Haverford-derived skills with “fieldwork, student teaching, and collaborative and creative academic work.” She is excited about Stanford’s classes that emphasize a “close-knit learning style with a lot of critical thinking and collaboration with peers,” and the fact that she will be a part of a small cohort of about 20 to 30 students, which closely resembles Haverford’s learning environment.

“It’s cool that I’ll be taking classes that are all related to my future career and that I get to explore a place I’ve never been to on the other side of the country,” she says.

After Sun graduates from her program in May 2018, she will enter a different kind of classroom—her own—and hopes to eventually move on to work in curriculum or teaching development.

Photo by Pearl Mao.

“Where They’re Headed” is a blog series reporting on the post-collegiate plans of recent Haverford graduates.