posted June 3, 2016- written by Ashley Weselak, SOE Graduate Assistant
From the moment she stepped onto campus, Gabrielle Mosher knew that she was meant to come to Buffalo State.
Although only a teenager at the time, Mosher’s participation in the On Point for College program - providing glimpses of college life through visits to local campuses - gave her the chance to learn early what school would be a good fit.
“I felt inspired!” she says, reflecting on her visit to Buffalo State. “There was something so refreshing and welcoming about the campus.”
During her studies, Mosher participated in several groups and clubs. She was Vice President for Best Buddies, an organization that matches college students in a one-to-one friendship with individuals who have intellectual disabilities, was involved with “Ladiez in Motion,” and was a member of the Caribbean Students Organization. Mosher valued the diversity on campus, an appreciation that extended into her later career. “I was able to step out of my comfort zone at Buffalo State,” she says, “modeling, dancing, attending camp weekends, and participating in the campus experience was ultimately the highlight of my college career.”
One might assume that a teaching degree leads to a teaching job confined within the walls of a traditional classroom, but Mosher took a nontraditional path with her career. She works as an external support for youth at the Boys & Girls Clubs Teen Center, and focuses on bridging the gap between understanding and communication in the context of the varying expectations of parents and schools. She challenges customary ideology and encourages educators to expand their efforts beyond the realms of a traditional school.
“Teaching is not one dimensional,” she asserts. “There are so many ways you can use your education-based higher education to seed into our community. Let your studies guide you into the direction of your dreams, and when a topic comes up that intrigues you, dive a little deeper and dig a little deeper.”
Jevon Hunter, associate professor for Elementary Education & Reading, solidified her passion for community education and examining the pressures placed on urban youth. He became, and remains, a major inspiration for Mosher.
“Dr. Hunter helped me to challenge my own thoughts and to think beyond the general stigma attached to generic thinking,” she says. “Many youth pass through my doors. I realize, now more than ever, that there is a lack of concrete support for high school graduates. Graduates who do not plan to attend college often slip through the cracks and struggle throughout adulthood.”
Mosher recognizes the dramatic pressures encountered when working with teenagers in urban communities. Dealing with death is a frequent challenge. Fear encases the community and it can be difficult to engage youth because parents are often afraid to send their children outside the home.
She shared an example of the very real tragedies sometimes faced by children and families in struggling neighborhoods. “I was attending a leadership conference with a group of my teens when I received a phone call informing me that one of my students was murdered," she shared. "He was 15 years old, gunned down from behind.”
Mosher worked on a project with her community leadership group, The Keystone Club, to uncover issues such as fear in communities, teen safety, and social justice. She brought these issues to focus for the city of Buffalo when she, along with the youth involved in the study, presented at City Hall’s Chamber of Commerce.
Mosher excitedly states, “The youth gave their presentation on ‘Teen Safety and Social Justice’ to our local politicians and to state politicians. Ultimately, their ability to speak scholarly on behalf of the youth in our community enabled us to open the first Teen Only Boys &Girls Club in our city!”
These strong connections with adolescences motivate Mosher. She hopes to provide guidance and inspiration for the youth in her care to meet their goals, regardless of their circumstances.
“I believe in our youth. In a significant way, this belief is what our community is missing.”
Mosher continues her ties with Buffalo State by partnering with Dr. Hunter to work on literacy-based research for minority males. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Urban Education and further her advocacy for youth.
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