Club Spotlight: Student Education Association

St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) has a wide variety of clubs on campus, ensuring that every student can find an outlet to meet new friends and engage in some of their favorite activities, or even learn new skills. The Student Education Association (SEA) has been an active club at SMCM for over six years, allowing students who are interested in pursuing a career in education to work with children firsthand.

SEA hosts various events throughout the school year, with the main events being the seasonal Parents’ Night Out, during which the club members sign up for time slots to watch the children of SMCM professors so they can enjoy a night out without having to worry about paying for childcare. The events are held in the Trinity Parish Hall, and the children are provided with activities, crafts, dinner, a story and if possible, outside playtime.

The club also helps put together Halloween at the MPOARC, and hosts a table at the event with coloring pages, candy and slime for the children to enjoy. There is an annual teacher appreciation breakfast for SMCM Educational Studies professors hosted by SEA members in the spring.

Aside from hosting events, SEA collects various items throughout the year to donate to St. Mary’s County Public Schools. At the beginning of the school year, the club organizes a drive to collect donations of school supplies. In the winter, SEA holds their annual hoodie drive, and collects donations of sweatshirts for Spring Ridge Middle School (SRMS). A teacher at SRMS then organizes a raffle, enabling students who do not have winter coats to win a free hoodie to wear in the cold months. SRMS staff members have shared with the club that the students who win hoodies are seen proudly wearing their sweatshirts for years after.

Jaclyn “Jackie” Machina (‘19) has been a member of SEA since her freshman year and serves as the club’s secretary. Machina stated, “[SEA] is a club which gave me great friends, better connections to the Ed Studies Department, and awesome opportunities to use my time and energy to help others.”

Machina explains that one of her most distinct memories was when SEA acted to provide comfort and help to Great Mills High School in St. Mary’s County after a tragic shooting in March of 2018, when club members worked alongside the faculty of the Educational Studies department to design a T-shirt which was then sold to raise money for the high school. Machina stated that the club raised over $1,000 in  T-shirt sales, and the money was then donated to help create a relaxing space for the staff to use at Great Mills High School after the devastating incident.

Aside from designing and selling a T-shirt, SEA also created a banner for SMCM students to sign and then delivered it to the high school to demonstrate the support the school was receiving from the community. Machina remarked, “I’m proud of our club’s hard work which demonstrated the things we stand for in such an impactful way.”

Maura Mullaney (‘21) explained that she joined SEA because she is a student in the Educational Studies department and thought that it would be fun to meet others with aspirations to become educators. Mullaney stated that the club has taught her some great ideas regarding activities and lessons to do with children when she becomes a teacher.

When asked about her profound memories while in the club, Mullaney stated that “Halloween at the ARC was really fun! It was so cute to see all of the kids in their costumes!” Mullaney also stated that she loves the bond she has formed with everyone in the club and she loves working with children, and would recommend that any Educational Studies students should join SEA.

SEA is not a club exclusive to Educational Studies students and minors. All SMCM students are welcome to attend the bi-weekly meetings, which are held on Monday nights at 8 p.m. in Goodpaster 239.

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