Nathan Murrin, a junior English education major from McHenry, Illinois, is leading a community of future educators through the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Aspiring Educators chapter. Aspiring Educators is a national organization managed through the National Education Association (NEA). According to NEA, the Aspiring Educators Program, “supports, develops and empowers diverse, pre-service teachers with the resources, networks and opportunities to lead in their schools, communities and in all phases of their career.”
As president of the UW-Platteville chapter, Murrin said this year the group is focusing on community at the local level and gaining professional development at the state level. Murrin explained Aspiring Educators is also associated with the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC). Murrin serves on the state executive board of Aspiring Educators as the professional development coordinator.
“It’s been a fantastic opportunity,” said Murrin. “One of the things I love about the leadership opportunities that Aspiring Educators offers is that you get to meet with people from across the state. Our board of directors meetings are for the local boards from each chapter. I’m meeting people passionate about education.”
Throughout the school year, the UW-Platteville chapter has had the opportunity to participate in two professional development conferences held in Oshkosh and Whitewater. As president and professional development coordinator, Murrin acknowledges how much he’s gained by collaborating with the local and state boards.
“In an education capacity and being in a leadership capacity too, the local and state board members are teaching me more than I’m teaching them,” he said. “Learning how to delegate is the greatest thing I have gained, learning I’m not doing it by myself. There’s a lot that has to get done. There are a lot of people I can depend on.”
Murrin said the goal of Aspiring Educators on campus is to bring education majors from all fields together. Currently, there are about 30 members.
“Our scope is quite broad. We want to be a bridge between secondary and elementary education,” Murrin explained. “It’s been a beautiful thing to let students know just because you are in a certain type of education doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t get involved with the other disciplines.”
As Murrin reflects on his days of touring different universities, he said he felt a connection when he stepped onto the UW-Platteville campus.
“I could see myself as part of the community,” he said. “The faculty in the School of Ed from day one, just from my visit, made me feel at home. They made me feel I was a valued part of the community, even though I was only in high school. They welcomed me.”
Now, as Murrin is getting closer to earning his degree, he’s grateful for all the hands-on experience he’s received, especially in his involvement with Aspiring Educators. In April, Murrin will be traveling to San Francisco, California, to attend the National Education Association Conference. Murrin was nominated at the state level to be the student representative from Wisconsin.
“To be recognized at the national level is such an honor,” he said. “[The conference] will cover the topics of race and gender. I have learned so many important things about those topics already from UW-Platteville, but I’m very excited to hear from leaders across the nation on very important issues facing our country.”
As Murrin prepares for the national conference, he’s looking forward to seeing the growth and future of the UW-Platteville Aspiring Educators chapter. Murrin will be transitioning off the local leadership team next year as he embarks on student teaching, but he will be running for the state board again.
“Aspiring Educators is something I never would have imagined. It’s been rewarding in so many ways,” he said. “Our students in Aspiring Educators are both good stewards of UW-Platteville and representatives of education across the state.”