About Rachel Bowen ’20
When Rachel Bowen went off to college in Boston, leaving her home in Saratoga Springs, she fully expected to become a lawyer.
After she got her bachelor’s, she still thought she’d be an attorney one day. But she was going to take a year off, to save money and recharge the batteries, before tackling law school.
During that gap year, she coached rowing and worked as a special education teaching assistant. That changed everything.
Rachel loved the job. She’d always had teaching in the back of her mind, but now she knew it needed to be front and center.
Rachel applied and was accepted into the Master of Science in Special Education program at Russell Sage College’s Esteves School of Education. The program prepares teacher candidates to work with students with disabilities in grades 1-6.
“I absolutely loved the program,” says Rachel, who graduated in 2020. “They challenge you, but the professors are so understanding of someone like me with a full-time job and going to school. They know you’re juggling a lot, so they make themselves available to you in every way possible.”
Rachel stayed working at coaching and the teaching assistant job while pursuing her master’s degree and began a full-time teaching position in fall 2020.
“Getting the master’s validated that I’d made the right choice,” she says. “It’s made me love the profession even more.”
Rachel says Kelly Brock, an assistant professor at the Esteves School of Education, has become her role model and inspiration. Professor Brock Kelly both teaches and works full time.
“She’s so amazing,” Rachel says. “I owe her so much.”
Rachel says she’s never once looked back at the road not taken.
“These students I work with, they’ve been labeled as hard to deal with,” she says. “But I get to help mold them into good students. I love that.”
"The professors are so understanding of someone like me with a full-time job and going to school. They know you’re juggling a lot, so they make themselves available to you in every way possible.”