“My aunt Mary was a great influence in my decision to major in special education,” Clemons said. “When I was young, I used to accompany her to the school where she taught students with severe developmental disabilities. After I graduated high school, she encouraged me to work with individuals who had developmental disabilities while I was in college. It didn't take long for me to learn that my heart desired to work with these individuals for the rest of my life.”
Clemons, who is originally from Dadeville, came to Missouri State because she wanted to attend a school with the program she was interested in, and also a school close to home. The instructors in the special education department were also dedicated to shaping Clemons’ education. “The course instructors were very helpful and supportive throughout my education, and Missouri State is close enough to home to help me foster my close relationship with my family, too,” she said.
As a recent graduate, Clemons has big plans for her future. Next fall she hopes to begin teaching at a school close to home, and the following spring she wants to return to Missouri State to finish a Master in Special Education with an emphasis in autism. “With this degree, I hope to someday be in a classroom working primarily with students who have autism and/or behavior disorders,” Clemons mentioned. “I love special education because it is so rewarding when you make progress with students who have disabilities.”
According to Clemons, becoming involved with other students through educational opportunities on campus was one of the most beneficial parts of her time at Missouri State. “When I started taking courses in special education, the instructors encouraged me to get involved in the field by joining the Council for Exceptional Children and by presenting coursework at the Midwest Symposium for Behavior Disorders,” she said.
Through her experiences Clemons said that she was able meet many individuals who are influential in the field of special education, and she had the opportunity to share her experiences with them and display her accomplishments. “I received many educational resources that will be helpful when I am teaching, and I learned a great deal from the educational conferences that I attended,” she said.