Meet Madison Guerrera

Madison Guerrera
HDF Undergraduate

Madison Guerrera is an ambitious undergraduate in the Human Development and Family Sciences (HDF) program who is graduating May 2024. Madison received one of the HDF Undergraduate Student Excellence Awards for 2024. This is provided to seniors based on academic achievement and involvement in URI, HDF, and community initiatives. Guerrera aspires to create a holistic and inclusive learning environment as a Child Life Specialist and wants to put an emphasis on “building bridges with families.”

Embracing all of my undergraduate years led me to finding my community, my growth, and making my mark in the HDF program.
Madison Guerrera

What year are you?

I am a Senior.

Where are you from?

I am from Monroe, Connecticut.

Do you do any campus activities or partake in research? 

I have participated on campus in a variety of ways; one of my most fond memories of on-campus work has been my time as a URI 101 Student Mentor. In my two years in this role, I was able to cultivate an environment to support and inspire first-year students entering URI. Overall, I had 21 students across different major interests of Sports Media and Education. I led my students to academic success, career pathways, resources, and counseling services here at URI, while simultaneously upholding an empathic and empowering environment in which my students found belongingness at URI. Additionally, I have had the amazing opportunity to be a an undergraduate Teaching Assistant (TA) for HDF 357 Family and Community Health, HDF 230 Couple and Family Relationships, and HDF 460 Therapeutic Play. In my role as the TA for HDF 357 with Sue Adams, I was able to expand 75 students’ understanding of Family and Community Health through fostering enriching guidance of the topic, providing motivating feedback, answering various questions or concerns, and assisting in the introduction to new concepts. In HDF 230 with Elizabeth Gruebel, I assisted and collaborated with over 100 students on how to understand Couple and Family Relationships material, while supporting students outside of the classroom during weekly meetings. In HDF 460 with Elizabeth Gruebel, I was an available mentor for 36 students on how to navigate the understanding of therapeutic play theories, concepts and ideas. Lastly, during the HDF 308 experiential education placement, I had the opportunity to work as a classroom assistant at URI’s Child Development Center, which was an amazing experience working with children. In this role I was able to practice implementing the schools Montessori and Waldorf inspired practices and gained expertise on therapeutic play and sensory integration. Furthermore, I have completed internships through HDF 310 & HDF 480/481 at Monsignor Matthew F. Clarke Regional School where I have been an Assistant Teacher. In this position I facilitated a captivating classroom environment for over 90 children ages 18 months to 8 years old. Through the many semesters I have spent here, I have gained communication skills, such as self-talk/attunement, while meeting the children’s physical, cognitive, social, and emotional developmental milestones.

What kind of career goals do you have for the future?

The career goals I have for the future is having a transformative impact on children’s mental, physical, social, and emotional health as a Child Life Specialist. I am deeply committed to pursuing this career because I will be able to combine my experience with building interpersonal relationships with families, my dedication to empathy and inclusivity, and my overall enthusiasm towards improving a child’s quality of life into one role. Pursuing this career meets my long-term goal of fostering a holistic environment that is inclusive of all children in my care with an emphasis on building bridges with families and medical care. Through my valuable experiences and undergraduate knowledge I have gained in URI’s HDF program, I am thrilled to continue to provide unconditional support for children and their families. In the future, I would also love to give back to the HDF program in any way I can as it has aided in my success as a student at URI.

What do you like most about the HDF program?

What I like most about the HDF program is its ability to not only have a captivating and immersive curriculum, but the community HDF has created. Every course I have taken in the HDF program has been an amazing experience, and the professors in HDF have truly made a life-long impact on me. Not only have they given me and countless others the tools for success, but they have made me feel empowered, inspired, and motivated after every single class. My professors have demonstrated this through their unconditional kindness towards helping all students through course materials while being emotionally supportive. Their efforts have truly gone beyond my expectations of a university-level educational experience, and I am incredibly grateful for my decision to major in HDF. Additionally, my peers in this program have always managed to foster an enthralling, welcoming, and kind environment. This has led me to build lifelong friendships and connections with my peers within the HDF community. I have sincerely appreciated my time in this program and will cherish my educational and personal growth from it forever. The HDF Department has given me my sense of home at URI, something I was nervous of ever having as an out-of-state student. I hope to make my program proud as I enter my next chapter of my life, as I will always be proud to be an HDF student here at URI.

How did you hear about the program?

I heard about the HDF program from entering my second semester here at URI. Upon entering URI, I was an undeclared major looking for a program that could offer me the knowledge and inspiration of how to help others with an emphasis on human development and child support. As I was researching different options, I fell upon HDF. The description for the major immediately stood out to me as HDF was described as the “science of caring.” This phrase warmed my heart, and I immediately connected with it. I knew that this was going to be the program for me and ever since then it has been proven true. Finding this program led me to making the best educational decision of my life. Now, I find myself always using this phrase to describe HDF courses and what the program consists of.

What does having the scholarship mean to you?

The Excellence in HDF Award means the world to me, and it is such an honor! It stands as a symbol of my determination to make a positive difference in the lives of children and also the passion I have in the world of HDF. Being a part of this program has truly had a monumental impact on my life and my future career goals. As I look back on my collegiate career, I do not know where I would be without this community or our excellent professors. I am truly so grateful for this award, and my words can not express enough how much I value being able to earn it.

Any words of wisdom for undergraduates?

Embrace it! Embrace the scary, happy, and liberating experiences you have at URI. No matter if it is good or bad, hold on to those moments in your life as they will fly by. I have found that even the worst moments have given me the experience and growth to take on new opportunities I previously never would have. Embracing all of my undergraduate years led me to finding my community, my growth, and making my mark in the HDF program.