“I decided to attend SU because I really enjoyed the campus and the size of the classes,” said Mary Severin Epps ’17. “I didn’t want a large school where my professors didn’t know my name. I also was recruited to play basketball and the team was fun to be around and really enjoyed their time at Shenandoah, so I thought that I would enjoy my time too, and I did!”
While at Shenandoah, Epps enjoyed its fun and loving atmosphere, and that the professors were there to work with you. Epps didn’t realize this at the time, saying students may not think the professors are there for them now because they might be giving them tough love, but once students get out into the real world they will be grateful professors gave them that tough love. Shenandoah prepared Epps for her career with of all the hands-on experience she received during her practicum hours. She had the opportunity to interact with students and learn how to teach a wide variety of students. She also enjoyed attending the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® and all the bus rides and get together with her teammates. “We would make fun of each other and have a good time, just being together,” said Epps.
Epps uses the skills she learned at Shenandoah to teach seventh and eighth grade health and physical education for Fairfax County Public Schools at Katherine Johnson Middle School in Fairfax, Virginia. Epps says her most rewarding experience in her career at the middle school is, “when a student who you wouldn’t think would enjoy the game sees you in the hall, hoping to play that same game the next time around. It’s amazing when my students want to come back to P.E. and work on skills that they don’t usually get to use during their daily activities.”
Epps graduated with a master’s degree in health and human performance in June 2022. She is also pursuing getting a certification in personal training as well.
Epps’ advice to students is: “Always stay on top of things, don’t procrastinate like you do in college and always get to know your students. They are more willing to work and learn from you if you show them that you care. Be there for your students and take an interest in what they want to learn and do in the classroom.”