COMMUNICATOR
June 23, 2024

From Law School Dreams to Special Education Advocacy: How Tia Palmer is Making a Difference

Tia Palmer’s plan was always to go to law school. Her dream job was to be a child advocate attorney. After finishing her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration from CSU, Tia was on her way to law school. Little did she know, her journey to become a lawyer was leading her down a path to discover her true calling—teaching special education.

“I finished my degree right after moving home to Maine,” she said. “My original plan with my criminal justice degree was to go to law school and become a child advocate attorney. However, I knew that with my new move and a one-year-old, there was no way that it was my time to go back to school and pursue my law degree.”

Tia chose a degree in criminal justice in the first place because of her sister, and wanted to make a difference in the lives of others.

“My mom had recently adopted my little sister and I watched the process and decided I really wanted to be a child advocate attorney and advocate for children who were unable to advocate for themselves.”

While waiting on the right time to go back to school, Tia took a job teaching at an early intervention center for children with diagnoses.

“I found my passion for this line of work,” she said. “I started as a paraprofessional and found that I really loved teaching and that advocating for students with special needs was also something important to me as all four of my younger siblings have a disability that affects their learning.”

After realizing this was her true calling, Tia made the decision it was finally time to go back to school, just not law school.

“I have always been someone who wanted to learn, and therefore, I chose to go back to school to learn more about special education.”

Tia is now a special education teacher in Maine, working with children in kindergarten through fifth grade.

“I love forming relationships with my students and getting to know them for who they are,” she said. “One of the special parts of being a special education teacher is watching my students meet milestones that some feared were impossible.”

Although Tia is not actively working in the criminal justice field, she credits her CSU degree as the reason she got her foot in the door teaching special education.

“With my CSU degree, I was able to become an ed tech in a school, a job that required a degree. This allowed me to find my passion in special education,” she said. “I use my knowledge in the justice system to advocate for children with special needs.”

Tia says there is a lot of knowledge she takes from her criminal justice degree that she applies to teaching.

“I took a lot of classes around youth incrimination and juvenile laws,” she said. “Many of the classes talked about how children with disabilities took up a huge portion of the children incarcerated. I learned a lot about the different laws in place to protect them, but now I get to influence some of the children who could have been a part of those statistics.”

Tia’s passion was always to make a difference in the lives of children. While she may not be doing so as a lawyer, she found a way to accomplish her goal and makes a difference every day.

“I was able to raise my daughter and pursue my dreams at the same time,” she said. “Although I am not using my degree in the way I originally hoped, it has led me to a career path that I am so proud of. My degree led me to a path where I have passion to stop children from entering the justice system, but also gave me a foundation and understanding of laws for special education.”

To hear more stories like Tia’s, visit the features section of the Communicator.

 

These testimonials may not reflect the experience of all CSU students. Multiple factors, including prior experience, geography, and degree field, affect career outcomes. CSU does not guarantee a job, promotion, salary increase, eligibility for a position, or other career growth.

 

Disclaimer: These testimonials may not reflect the experience of all CSU students.
Multiple factors, including prior experience, geography, and degree field, affect career outcomes.
CSU does not guarantee a job, promotion, salary increase, eligibility for a position, or other career growth.

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