Neag School Class of 2024 Student Profile: Logan McCallum Laval

“I chose UConn because of the Neag School! I wanted to be a teacher, and I knew the University had a great program that would allow me to not only leave with my master’s degree after five years but allow me to go directly into my career.”

Logan McCallum Laval

(Photo courtesty of Logan McCallum Laval)

Editor’s Note: As Commencement approaches, we are featuring some of our Neag School Class of 2024 graduating students over the coming days.

Major: BS, English Education
Enfield, Connecticut

Why did you choose UConn?

I chose UConn because of the Neag School! I wanted to be a teacher, and I knew the University had a great program that would allow me to not only leave with my master’s degree after five years but allow me to go directly into my career. I didn’t want to go to UConn at first. I was one of those kids who grew up in Connecticut saying no, I don’t want to go there, and my parents forced me to go on a campus tour anyway. It was a beautiful day in the summer, and I had the time of my life just on the tour alone. I was like, you know what? This went from being my last choice school to being my number one, and I am so thankful for that.

What’s your major or field of study, and what drew you to it?

I am a secondary English education major. I knew I wanted to be an English teacher when I was in high school because of two of my teachers, Mrs. Sidlosky and Mr. Macey, who made English my favorite subject. But I have wanted to be a teacher my whole life because of both of my parents, who are high school teachers, and my grandfather, who was a college professor. I’ve had a lot of great educators in my life who have shown me the beauty of sharing knowledge and bringing excitement to what learning is or can be. Something I’ve always wanted to do is essentially give back to the education field or community. I feel like educators have built me up and made me who I am today, and I wouldn’t be here today without all the great teachers and staff members I’ve had. There’s no better way for me to say thank you than to be a teacher and pass along everything that I’ve learned to other students.

Did you have a favorite professor or class?  

My favorite professor and class were Multicultural Education with Dr. Emily Rose Schwab. It was one of my first Neag-designated classes, and I met two of my friends in the class. Dr. Schwab created a wonderful learning environment that allowed me to bring in my own experiences and culture while also being able to learn about others. What I liked the most about the class was the structure and activities. I was able to learn and engage with topics that will prepare me to create a safe and comfortable learning environment for my students and show that learning can be fun. Dr. Schwab was so personable and encouraging with her words, and she made me excited to be a part of the program and hopefully have the same impact on my students that her class had on me.

What activities were you involved in as a student?

The main activity I would say I was involved with was working at the Lodewick Visitors Center, the tour program on campus. I started as a tour guide in 2021. That next summer I began taking on more leadership opportunities, which allowed me to be the first VIP coordinator, where I would do everything from scheduling to running staff meetings to training new tour guides. This then allowed me to be the first star coordinator, the summer version of my VIP position, which then allowed me to be the first Admissions Intern and Special Assistant, which focused primarily on tours for specific schools and colleges. I’ve had a lot of great “firsts” at that job, which has made me very proud of myself individually, as well as proud to say that I have been a part of bringing in the next classes of UConn students along with the wonderful professional and student staff members who continue to expand higher education opportunities to students across our state and nation. Even though it was a job, this was a very rewarding experience. It was the best way to meet new people around campus, in the incoming classes, and from every major UConn has to offer. I was able to meet very important guests that came to campus, such as former UConn women’s basketball player Maya Moore and her husband; U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona; and give our newest mascot, Jonathan XV, his first campus tour.

UConn has prepared me for the next chapter of my life by putting me in a classroom multiple times during undergrad to allow me to become comfortable with the expectations of my career. — Logan McCallum Laval

What’s one thing that surprised you about UConn?

One thing that surprised me about UConn is the campus’s energy. I say that precisely in the spirit that the school has because I didn’t expect to be converted into a basketball fan. If you know me now, you know that I love basketball so much. I think it’s such a fun sport to watch and play. Although, when I first started at UConn, I didn’t care about basketball; that was probably the least important thing on my list. I was forced to go to games by my parents, and I am so happy because I learned about a different side of UConn that you can’t understand just by hearing it; you must experience it. What surprised me is that people aren’t just cheering for a specific player or because it’s something fun to do on the weekends; they’re cheering because they truly do love the school, and you can put the name “UConn” in front of anything and people are going to support it because they love UConn so much. I like to joke that I was converted, but I think I didn’t have a choice but to fall in love with the University, which is in its most authentic state.

What are your plans after graduation/receiving your degree?

My plans after receiving this degree are to return to UConn and promptly receive my second degree, which is going to be in my master’s. Technically, I am going to give myself a small break for the summer and then prepare to come back and work just as hard, but I want to focus on enjoying the moment and celebrating myself. I have worked so hard to get here, and I really want to relish not just my own success but also the success of so many of my friends that I’ve made along the way. I want to make sure that I don’t miss a moment of the excitement that comes with being able to graduate and going into the field of education.

How has UConn prepared you for the next chapter in life?

UConn has prepared me for the next chapter of my life by putting me in a classroom multiple times during undergrad to allow me to become comfortable with the expectations of my career before I technically had my first day as a teacher. Even going beyond my major, I’ve been able to hold such high and respected job positions to gain experiences through office work, work-related meetings, and working with colleagues and professional staff members around the University.

I’ve been able to go to informative events on campus to prepare me with life skills, and then I can turn around the next day and go to events where I would meet people who are going to continue to be in my life for the rest of time because we became friends. In all, I think that UConn prepared me for the world and all the fun that comes with it, but also with so many opportunities, just simply by checking my email or seeing a flyer in the Student Union.

Any advice for incoming students?

My advice for incoming students is very corny, but I am a tour guide, so I have to say it: go outside your dorm room as much as possible. Go to every activity, go to every event, even if it feels embarrassing or anxiety-inducing. This is the best way to get to know people, even if it’s just your roommate, but it’s also the best way to see all that campus must hold for you. There will be booths set up in the Student Union with an opportunity to be a part of an organization that you could end up being a part of for the next three years, and you never would’ve known if you didn’t know to go outside your dorm. Especially when you’re a freshman, there are so many opportunities that are labeled “for freshman” to get to know the campus, to get to know the people that live on your floor, to get to know your professors, all great things like that. Go to all of them; it’ll make your time in college so much easier, but it’ll also feel like you’ve adjusted to your new life easier, too. Even after your first year, go to the involvement fair every semester, too, because there are always new clubs and organizations that can keep you busy. It is so important to have fun in college and do things outside of your academics. As a student, you are already working so hard in your classes, so you need a space to be silly and enjoy yourself.

What’s one thing everyone should do during their time at UConn?

Go to Horsebarn Hill or the Student Union Green on a warm day. It sounds corny, but there’s nothing like being outside and seeing everyone you’ve ever met lying around basking in the sun, throwing around a ball, reading, or sunbathing on the first day of the spring semester when it is above 65 degrees. Trust me, you will see everyone you’ve ever met, everyone you’ve ever walked past going to class, and it will feel like such a surreal classic college shown in a TV show.

What will always make you think of UConn?

Many things will always make me think of UConn, but the first thing that comes to mind is the cows. I love being able to tell people my campus has cows on it. It’s nothing crazy, but something that makes me happy when I think about it. I remember, especially being here during the pandemic, one of the only fun things you could do was go outside and see people from a distance. So, walks were big for me, being able to go outside and take a walk and see the cows and pretend life was what we knew it was before for a moment. It made me so happy and kept me grounded during that time, so when I pass by cows, I always think of those walks that I took. You know, even being halfway across campus and smelling the manure and thinking, “What is that smell?” but then at the same time knowing that it’s the beauty of what our campus is where you could be in a state-of-the-art lab and then walk outside and be right next to the cows.