Selfless support in Mid-MO and beyond

After transferring to Mizzou to learn how to serve others through teaching, Nick Young is taking his degree back to his hometown in rural Missouri — prepared to help students with special needs succeed in the classroom and in life.

Dec. 11, 2023
Contact: Deidra Ashley,

From a young age, Nick Young wanted to be a teacher. As a recipient of the A+ Scholarship Program for his excellent grades and attendance record in high school, Young attended community college free of charge for two years at a community college in Columbia.

He quickly noticed how connected the University of Missouri was to the Columbia community, and after enrolling at Mizzou as a secondary education major, he was soon job shadowing teachers in classrooms across Columbia. Those hands-on experiences helped him land a teaching job after his junior year in his hometown of Eldon, Missouri, where he will continue teaching students with special needs after graduating from MU this week.

Read on for a Q&A with Young about his Mizzou experience.

What drew you to Mizzou?

Even at a massive university like Mizzou, I was impressed by how small the class sizes were, as my education classes usually had less than 30 people. All my professors know me by name and got to know a lot about me. I love how personal the experience is.

I also enjoy the flexibility of being able to take classes early in the morning or late at night. As someone who had to work a lot to support myself through college, I appreciate the flexibility Mizzou offered me to be able to balance work and school at the same time.

How did you take advantage of hands-on opportunities on campus?

Regardless of how many books I read or videos I watch about teaching, there is no better experience than being in the classroom. The MU College of Education and Human Development gave me opportunities to go inside actual classrooms throughout Columbia — observing teachers in practice along the way. I was able to observe how the students interacted with each other and how the teachers interacted with students. Those experiences helped me build skills that I will take with me throughout my career.

How did you spend your time outside of class?

I lived at the Christian Campus House on East Campus, which is a non-denominational campus ministry at Mizzou. I also enjoyed going to Mizzou football games and playing intramural flag football on Stankowski Field.

My on-campus job was at the Engineering Library in Lafferre Hall. There, I helped students check out books and use the computers.

What’s next for you after graduation?

I will continue teaching a variety of history classes to students with special needs at Eldon High School, where I have been teaching while finishing up my final year at MU. I teach transition-level social studies, government, world civics, American history and study skills. Some of the students I teach have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, or a learning disability, and I help them improve their study skills so they can be successful in school and in life.

What is your philosophy as you move forward into your career?

I believe the more selfless you are, the more successful you are. I look forward to being able to say that my success is entirely dependent on the success of my students — I’m always thinking about the best ways to help them both in the classroom and in life.

Story written by Brian Consiglio

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