Student Spotlight: Sarah Ettinger

image of student Sarah Ettinger

Learn more about Sarah Ettinger, a student in the Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education Distance Learning program, through our Student Spotlight series

Quick Facts

Hometown: I’m originally from Mount Vernon, Washington, but I grew up primarily in Hillsboro. 
Favorite books or movies: I’m all about high fantasy, The Riyria Chronicles by Michael J Sullivan is my absolute favorite. 
Hobbies: In my downtime, I enjoy gardening, hiking, rock climbing, and camping. I had my first child last May, so sharing my hobbies with her has become my favorite experience ever. 

Why did you choose the Special Education Distance Learning program?

I chose the Special Education Distance Learning program because I am passionate about working with students with disabilities, but I am unable to attend traditional on-campus classes due to working full-time at a Head Start program in Salem and being a new mom. This program provides me additional training in teaching strategies, assessment techniques, and behavior management strategies that are specifically tailored to the needs of the students I am currently working with and hope to continue working with in the future. 

What are your career goals?

My goal is to work for the ESD district here in Salem, as a behavior specialist, EI specialist or autism consultant. 

What education or experience led you to pursue a path in Special Education?

I went to OSU for my bachelor's degree, in human development, and family sciences with a focus on child development, from there I nannied for a few years before landing at Head Start. While working at Head Start I saw a huge need for support for students with behaviors, and developmental delays, not only for the students, but for the staff as well. I started finding training and webinars to further my knowledge base but wanted more, so here I am. 

What do you think is unique about the Special Education Distance Learning program at the UO?

The Special Education Distance Learning program at the University of Oregon is unique in that our courses are collaborative. We are interacting with students from multiple disciplines, so our experiences are being shared with a variety of backgrounds and peers.  I was lucky enough to be a part of Project PANGEA (Preparing A New Generation of Early Autism Educators). Which was an incredible experience including running an intervention this past summer. The program is designed to accommodate the schedules of working professionals, and classes can be attended entirely online. Additionally, the faculty consists of experts with new research being published all the time.