A person stands in front of a desk in a classroom.
BGSU alumna Rachel Lill began a new career in education with support from BGSU.

Journey to the classroom: Alumna begins new career in education with support from BGSU

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Flexible and convenient programs allow Rachel Lill ‘18 to pursue a career change

By Laren Kowalczyk ‘07

Bowling Green State University alumna Rachel Lill ‘18 may not have been a teacher for the first part of her professional life, but an instinctual desire to educate those around her was ever present.

When she left her career in retail management in search of a better work-life balance, Lill took a job tutoring at-risk students — an opportunity that inspired her to return to BGSU to become a teacher.

“I absolutely fell in love with teaching,” Lill said. “My passion for teaching was always there, but tutoring opened my eyes to the real possibility of changing careers. My path to becoming a teacher might differ from most, but I was led to exactly where I was meant to be.”

Lill’s journey to the classroom began in 2017 when she reenrolled at BGSU Firelands in Huron, Ohio, to finish the bachelor’s degree she started more than a decade earlier. 

With a degree in liberal studies, Lill joined Vermilion Local Schools, east of Huron, as an intervention specialist in 2019 through Ohio’s alternative resident educator license, a common pathway into teaching for those changing careers.

To earn her professional teacher license, Lill enrolled in the alternative resident educator program (AREP) through BGSU Online in Spring 2023. The graduate certificate program, offered in convenient seven-week sessions, is the final step required for professional licensure.

Classes are taught by the same BGSU faculty who teach in-person classes in the nationally-ranked education program in the College of Education and Human Development.

Through the flexible BGSU Online program, Lill was mentored by Dr. Meg Vostal, an assistant teaching professor in the School of Inclusive Teacher Education.

“I began my teaching career during the pandemic, which was discouraging at times,” Lill said. “Meg helped me understand that there always will be challenges in education, but you have to focus on the things that are within your control. She helped get me into the right mindset to move forward and make a difference.

“That program was such an amazing experience. It was the recharge I needed coming out of the pandemic.”

Vostal said Lill’s dedication and passion for teaching were supported by the evidence-based pedagogy classes at BGSU, which are designed to help teachers transform their good intentions into excellent instruction.

“Rachel's student-centered classroom practices impressed me from the start,” Vostal said. “She entered the teaching profession with a strong commitment to help students with disabilities reach their goals. It's a joy to support early-career teachers like Rachel who are eager to master the craft of teaching.”

Grateful for the support she received with each BGSU experience, Lill returned once again to pursue her master’s degree in special education, specializing in secondary transition, through BGSU Online.

“The combination of knowledgeable and caring faculty with an environment suited for working professionals made my decision to pursue my master’s degree at BGSU incredibly easy,” Lill said. “I know I’ll receive a quality education that will help make me a better educator.”

Lill will begin her new role as a middle school intervention specialist in Danbury Local Schools in Marblehead, Ohio, in the 2024-25 school year.

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Media Contact | Michael Bratton | mbratto@bgsu.edu | 419-372-6349

Updated: 05/20/2024 01:48PM