Rohnert Park, CA
"As I look to become a physical education teacher, I believe my degree has provided a greater understanding of how humans learn new tasks."
After his service in the U.S. Coast Guard, Adam LaVigne plans to inspire his younger sister and fulfill a lifelong dream of becoming a physical education teacher by earning a Master of Education in Physical Education degree at the University of Arkansas.
“As I look to become a physical education teacher, I believe my degree has provided a greater understanding of how humans learn new tasks,” LaVigne said. “This alone will be essential to providing appropriate feedback to my students. Personally, earning this degree means I can continue to be someone my younger sister can look up to. Letting her know that she can achieve what she wants in life as well if she works hard enough. As the first member of my family to graduate college, I know I have set an example for her as she pursues a degree online as well.”
LaVigne chose to study online because it let him fulfill his duties in the Coast Guard as well as pursue his academic goals.
“I also never did well sitting in a traditional classroom setting,” he said. “I enjoy the freedom that comes with online learning and the support that I have received from my adviser, Dr. Jack Kern, whether it is signing off on registration forms for my National Strength and Conditioning certification or simply answering an email about homework in a timely manner. The flexibility among my professors at U of A has also stood out to me. For example, I am stationed in Northern California and experienced the raging wildfires last year; thousands were without power and hundreds fled the area. My advisers allowed for flexibility then and continue to be flexible as we all work through COVID-19 pandemic together.”
LaVigne applied the lessons learned while surviving boot camp to thriving in life. He now gives all that he can to anything he attempts and does not let fear of failure weigh him down.
“In the first few weeks of boot camp, it feels like everything you do is wrong,” he said. “Many would complain instead of reflecting on what they can improve upon and move on. I can see this being an issue in teaching. Providing students with feedback and instructions on how they can improve next time will not only save the classroom from negative talk but also allow students to move forward.”
LaVigne is one of 23 people to receive the W.E. Manning Memorial Scholarship for online U of A students for the 2020-2021 academic year. He intends to help his future students explore, dream and discover by teaching them the importance of cutting loose from the anchor of fear.
“School is an opportunity to springboard one’s future success,” LaVigne said. “If it is treated like a place you have to be, it will never be more than that. Sailing away from the safe harbor and having that belief in one’s self will keep wind in the sails. I plan to help my students realize through my effort and actions that with their best effort and positive actions, they can thrive in this life.”