Date of Award
Master of Education (MEd)
Special Education and Rehabilitation
Improving outcomes for students with disabilities has been a passion of mine for most of my life. I received a bachelor’s degree in special education from Utah State University in 1997 and began my professional career as a special education teacher at Layton High School in Layton, Utah. I believed I was implementing best practices for students with disabilities. My students took part in vocational training on community job sites, public transportation training and community access at businesses in the community. I partnered with counselors from Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and developed an appreciation for the complexities of interagency collaboration. I continued my teaching career at North Davis Preparatory Academy as a special educator and special education director for 10 years. I left the classroom for a while when I obtained employment at Utah Professional Development Network (UPDN) as an Instructional Coach where I provided professional development to special educators across the state of Utah. Transition from school to adulthood was an area of focus for many of the trainings I provided while at UPDN. Because of my participation in the Transition Specialist Master’s Program at Utah State, I went back to teaching transition-aged students with disabilities in a post-high school classroom. I viewed this as an opportunity to improve on the practices I had implemented at the beginning of my career and allow me to be part of improving outcomes for individuals with disabilities. I have conducted a variety of formal and informal transition assessments in my new position and have been able to use information from those assessments to develop transition plans that reflect my students’ preferences, strengths and needs. I have developed relationships with VR counselors and community rehabilitation partners in transition planning and had experiences that have shown the importance of interagency collaboration in transition planning for my students. Working with young adults with disabilities has been the most rewarding experience of my professional life. I plan to continue working in transition for the rest of my career.
Hammond, Sonja, "Professional Portfolio" (2019). All Graduate Plan B and other Reports. 1396.
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