My name is Liz Barto and I am a graduate student at William Paterson University. I earned my B.S. from New York University in Secondary Social Studies Education in 2010. After graduation I pursued a career in public education. At the time, there was a low demand for history teachers so I returned to school and earned a certification in Special Education from William Paterson University. With certifications in both History and Special Education, I was able to secure a full-time teaching position after two full years of searching. Currently, I am a High School Special Education teacher in Summit, New Jersey. I co-teach a section of Pre-Algebra, Sophomore English, World History and teach a section of World History in a resource room setting. I am pursuing a Master’s degree in History from William Paterson to expand my knowledge about not just history but how the world works.
I enjoy traveling and try to go on vacation away from the East Coast at least once a year. This is a tradition that I started when I was a freshman in college and decided to study abroad in Dublin, Ireland. I am Irish and have always been interested in the history of Ireland and the plights that the people have suffered through since the beginning of time. I spent the summer of 2007 in Dublin learning about the history of the country, seeing a variety of tourist attractions, studying Celtic mythology and stumbling through the Irish translations found on most street signs. After falling in love with Ireland’s history and culture, I begrudgingly returned to New Jersey and started planning my next trip to the Emerald Isle. It did not take me long to realize there are billions of other interesting, beautiful and fun places in the world. To ease my realization that I would probably never return, I chose to take Irish to complete my language requirements for my Bachelor’s degree. By the time I graduated from NYU I was only six credits away from earning a minor in Irish studies.
Throughout college and while looking for full time employment, I tried to keep traveling costs to a minimum and focused on destinations within the United States. I visited friends in many places such as Los Angeles, Key West, Las Vegas, Chicago and Boston, just to name a few. In 2012, I was offered a full-time teaching position and almost immediately I began saving towards a trip to Europe. After discussing my plans to travel with my best friend, who I happened to meet in Irish class at NYU, she decided that she wanted to join me. Together, we planned to take a two week vacation to Ireland, England and France. Our itinerary quickly became jam-packed with historical sites, museums, breweries, major parks, distilleries and the mission of finding out about, listening to and seeing local musicians native to each country we visited. My friend and I spent approximately four days in each country, zipping from one landmark to the next in a fourteen day long whirlwind; barely having enough time to enjoy the sites we were so desperately trying to squeeze into our short time abroad. We managed to knock off three or four tourist destinations each day, barely making a difference in our understanding of the culture in England and France. Who knows, maybe I will return one day.
The first thing I said to my fiance after stepping off the plane was, “Can we go to Tokyo for our honeymoon?” I have only recently started planning our wedding, but I started planning and saving for our trip to Japan within moments of my last adventure’s end.
My ultimate goal is not only to be a world traveler, but also to be a well-informed, knowledgeable person– and history teacher. People say the best place to start is at the beginning. My beginning was in Ridgewood, New Jersey and I have grown up and currently live in the neighboring borough, Ho-Ho-Kus. To become that intelligent and sophisticated person, I am going to start by working towards a better understanding of New Jersey’s history.