Answering the Siren Song

Hannah Vagos '17 can't deny her passion for education

Thursday, August 3, 2017
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photo of Hannah Vagos
Hannah Vagos '17 is teaching at the UNH ESL Institute before heading to Madrid, Spain, to teach this fall.

Teaching runs in Hannah Vagos’ family — both of her parents are educators. And though she initially tried to resist the siren song of the classroom, Vagos couldn’t deny her passion for education.

“I was studying abroad and taking English literature courses and I was surrounded by English literature majors, and I realized how much I missed education. I realized that’s what I want to do with my life,” she says.

That’s why Vagos, an English literature major, picked up a minor in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) during her junior year, a course of study she says she immediately fell in love with.

“I find it so inspiring to watch the progression of students, watching them grow and fostering this love of learning,” Vagos says. “It’s so amazing! It’s empowering, not only for them but also for you.”

In the last four years, Vagos has traveled the world. In the summer of 2015, she spent six weeks in Cambridge, England. And in 2016, she spent the spring semester at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

“I spent my life in the library” in Scotland, she says, but she still found time for side trips to France, Spain and Portugal, where her father’s family is from. And she took part in a long-standing St. Andrews tradition: the May Dip, in which students rush into the North Sea at sunrise just before final exams in order to “purge your academic sins.

“I was just ready to kill those finals,” Vagos jokes. “It was amazing, plunging into the North Sea at the break of dawn.”

As an instructional assistant for English professor Charli Valdez, Vagos says she “saw the other side” of the classroom, experience that she’ll use on her next set of adventures: working as an instructor in the ESL Institute and, later, teaching English in Madrid. Eventually, she hopes to pursue a graduate degree in TESOL.

“I’ve learned so much about myself here,” she says. “UNH has allowed me to be extremely independent. I’ve been afforded so many wonderful opportunities and experiences. It’s really prepared me.”

Photographer: 
Perry Smith | Freelance Photographer

This article is part of the series:

UNH graduation cap
A look at where this year's graduates are headed