Drury Spotlight: Emilia Elmer Intriago

Emilia Elmer IntriagoAs an international student from Quito, Ecuador, one of the questions that Emilia Elmer Intriago is often asked is, “Why Drury?” How did a student from an equatorial city of 1.6 million people decide to make her college home at a small school in Springfield, Missouri?

“When I was a senior in high school, I decided that I wanted to study in the States mainly because I like the way that school is run here,” explains Emilia, an Elementary Education major. “The States tends to be very modern and advanced when it comes to education. It’s not traditional anymore. And I wanted to be that kind of teacher, so the States was always my first choice.”

That left a lot of options, so she met with her college counselor to get some help finding the right school for her.

“I told her I wanted a small school and a school that had a lot of opportunities to actually work in the classroom,” says Emilia. “That was a big one for me. And I listed off a couple of other things like a sense of community, some place that was homey and you know people. And she looked at me and she said, ‘Drury.’ She didn’t even think about it.

In Drury, Emilia has discovered exactly the community she was searching for.

“People here are very friendly and welcoming,” she says. “It can be hard leaving your home, you can feel lonely sometimes, but the people here definitely make it less of a shock than it would be.”

With the exception of getting used to winter weather, adjusting to life at Drury has been easy for Emilia. On campus, she is involved in Pi Beta Phi, her sorority, as well as the International Student Association, and the International Advisory Group, which seeks to help international students transition and succeed.

“I really like the sense of security that you get in a smaller town. I thought that Drury was just the most beautiful campus, lots of trees and green, which is something you don’t get in the city,” she says.

Moreover, Drury has proven to be the perfect place for her to pursue her educational goals. Her chosen path is rooted in a desire to help others. Emilia hopes to take the knowledge and skills she gains and apply them at schools back at home, improving the quality of the education system there for students.

For example, her coursework has introduced her to the concept of integrated curriculum.

“Integrated curriculum has shown me how to keep students engaged by having the work hands-on and create meaningful connections between the material and the different areas of learning such as science, math, language arts, et cetera,” she says. “It is a really creative and interesting method of teaching, one we do not use at home but we should!”

But before that, she plans on continuing her own education.

“I want to get my Master's in Special Education,” Emilia says. “Then I’m probably aiming towards going home and instituting certain ways of teaching that are not there just yet, especially for students who have special needs so they don’t really benefit from the general classroom.”

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Story by Bryan Haynes, Marketing & Communications graduate assistant.