Student: Lexi Lozner
Future teacher Lexi Lozner, an East Carolina University junior majoring in special education, says people with disabilities often are overlooked. She wants to make sure that her students are seen and heard.
“I think a lot of people don’t give them enough credit. People see the disability before they see the student. But these students are so intelligent. I’ve met special needs students who are smarter than I am 100%,” Lozner said.
“I just want to let them know that I see them, that I know they’re smart; I know they’re intelligent. I want them to feel that. Because being in an environment with typical children, they can feel like outsiders. They can feel left out or not as smart, but it’s just not true. That’s what I want to convey to them as their teacher.”
When Lozner was a student at Hope Middle School in Greenville, she had the opportunity to be a peer helper in a special education classroom. After that experience, she knew she wanted to work with students with disabilities. “It was where I was meant to be. There was never any question. This is what I want to do. That’s where it started.”
The classroom seems a natural fit for Lozner. Her mother, Ashley, is a teacher, and her great-grandmother was a teacher too. “I have spent so many years at school with my mom. I’d go for the teacher workdays, the classroom setup, the classroom breakdown, and I just loved it all the time,” Lozner said. “As I got older, my mom was like ‘You can do this too.’ That’s all I’ve ever wanted to be. I feel like it’s where I’m most comfortable. It’s where I thrive.”
Students in the ECU College of Education get numerous classroom experiences as they work toward becoming a teacher. Lozner has been in four schools in just her first two years and is looking forward to being in more classrooms this year.
“I feel like ECU is preparing me by making sure that I have gotten into the school system every year and had those connections and experiences,” she said. “All of my professors have taught the content, but they’ve also taught how to be a good person, how to be a good role model for your students.
“All of my professors have been in my shoes. They know exactly what we’re going to go through. That’s really special to me to be able to have that advice because they care so much for us, and they care that we’re good teachers and that we reach our students in good ways.”
Last year, Lozner helped revive the ECU chapter of the Student Council for Exceptional Children and will serve as president this year. Each month, the organization brought in guest speakers such as parents of exceptional children and Greenville’s Awaken Coffee that employs adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities as baristas and cashiers.
Another pivotal experience has been in the Education Living Learning Community (LLC) and Community of Scholars. “That has been a total gamechanger in my college career. It has given me everything and so much more,” she said. “I can’t say enough good things about the LLC and Dr. (Dionna) Manning and Dr. (Catrina) Davis. They just really make it a family. We do everything together. These people have become my best friends.”
Freshman education majors live in Ballard Residence Hall, creating a bond that continues through monthly seminars, class trips and volunteering in community outreach and service projects together, said Lozner, who will serve as class representative again this year.
In that role, she helped create partnerships with Aces for Autism and the ECU Community School to provide ECU student cleanup days, led food, pet and school supply drives, and packaged care items for NC Packs 4 Patriots.
ECU’s reputation for creating great teachers and her mother’s own experience with ECU interns helped Lozner decide to attend ECU. “It’s been amazing here. The community in the College of Education, I’ve felt so much support from professors and peers, everybody.”
This summer and in 2022, Lozner served as a staff member and mentor for more than 200 participants who attended the Future Teachers of North Carolina symposium hosted by the College of Education. She now has 17 mentees from high schools across the state with whom she talks monthly about attending ECU.
Lozner also has been working three part-time jobs that incorporate teaching and leadership. She’s a dance teacher with Greenville Civic Ballet; an aide to a 12-year-old boy with cerebral palsy; and a lifeguard and assistant manager at the Windsor neighborhood pool.
In September, Lozner will travel with other ECU juniors to the Ron Clark Academy, an acclaimed nonprofit middle school in Atlanta co-founded by ECU alumnus Ron Clark.
Lozner is a Maynard Scholar and Honors College Centennial Scholar. In 2022, she was named one of the first four recipients of the Pitt County Schools Educator Fellows Scholarship, which provides up to $20,000 in financial assistance for select graduates from the county’s public high schools who want to become teachers. Lozner graduated from D.H. Conley High School in 2021.
Her sister, Laci, is a sophomore nursing student at ECU. Their parents are Ashley and Mark Lozner of Greenville.
Name: Lexi Lozner
College: College of Education
Major: Special education
Hobbies/interests: Spending time with my friends, teaching dance and going to church.
Clubs and Organizations: Education Living Learning Community and Community of Scholars, Honors College, Student Council for Exceptional Children, Cru Girls Bible Study, Apple Ambassador for the College of Education.
Favorite hangout: The student center and my apartment.
Favorite place on campus: The third-floor balcony at the student center.
Favorite place to eat: Chick-fil-A
Favorite class: READ 3302
Professor who influenced you the most: Jean Gore
Favorite TV show: “Dance Moms”
Favorite band/musician: Taylor Swift
Favorite movie: “Elf”
Favorite app: TikTok
Dream job: Special education teacher
Role model: My mom
Your words to live by: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter: 7 New Living Translation
What advice do you have for other students? Find your people! I have been able to make so many lifelong friends through the Education Living Learning Community and various campus ministries. There is something at ECU for everyone!
What is something cool about ECU that you wish you knew during your first year? I wish I knew just how much of a support system was out there for me. I have felt nothing but support from everyone in the College of Education. We all want the best for each other, and it is such a blessing to be able to experience that.