Emily Vasile, MAT, TVI, MS '16, CLVTMS
spends her days teaching others how to teach students with visual impairments and being an instructor in the Educators of Children and Youth with Visual Impairments program and the Low Vision Rehabilitation program at Salus University.
But on her own time, she’s learned how to be Sarah Brown and Marion Paroo. You don’t recognize those names? Then you might not be a fan of hit Broadway productions or classic films.
Sarah Brown is the lead female character in the original 1950 Broadway production of “Guys and Dolls,” and Marion Paroo is the lead female character in the original 1957 Broadway production of “The Music Man.” Each was adapted for the big screen and became hit movies as well, with Marlon Brando and Jean Simmons in the lead roles of “Guys and Dolls” (1955) and Robert Preston and Shirley Jones in the lead roles of “The Music Man” (1962).
Vasile was involved in the Women’s Choral Ensemble during her undergraduate studies at The College of New Jersey, where she graduated with a degree in elementary education and psychology. But she was too shy to audition for any stage parts then.
That changed when she got to Salus and found out that Beth Shalom Congregation and Congregation Adath Jeshurun, local synagogues close to the Salus Elkins Park, Pa. campus
, put on annual productions. She auditioned, and was given the female lead in “Guys and Dolls” one year and “The Music Man” the following year.
“I like to perform. I did theater in high school and backstage work in undergrad, but then I took a big break from it. I got involved again when I started working at Salus,” said Vasile. “The two roles were very different experiences. I feel like when I perform as ‘Emily,’ I am very shy and self-conscious of my performance, but when I perform as a character, I am able to be a part of a stage world that’s so exciting and different than our own and embody the personality and experiences of a different person. I felt that I needed a lot of self-confidence in the Sarah Brown role, and having gone through that experience made me even more confident when auditioning for the role of Marion Paroo.”
Vasile, who has low vision, has been teaching in the University's Blindness and Low Vision Studies programs for five years, after graduating from the University with a master’s degree in Low Vision Rehabilitation. Prior to that she earned a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in Special Education from The College of New Jersey with a post-graduation certification in teaching the blind and visually impaired.
At Salus, she’s an instructor in the University's College of Education and Rehabilitation and the coordinator of the National Leadership Consortium in Sensory Disabilities (NLCSD)
A return engagement, rejoining the Salus community almost immediately after graduation gave her the opportunity to complete a smooth transition to teaching. She had already developed relationships with the faculty as a student and now she was switching roles to become a colleague of those same faculty members.
“Because I didn’t have too much of a gap in between when I finished my program and when I started teaching at Salus, I think the flow was easier,” she said. “I had just finished doing online classes and really had a fresh idea as to how to go about teaching them. But there was still a learning curve. Being on the teaching end is definitely different than learning it.”
One of the many things Vasile loves about being on the faculty at Salus is there’s something different going on every day.
“That keeps me motivated and excited to see what the next day’s project is going to be,” she said. “I love this field (blindness and low vision). I entered it from personal experience, being someone who has low vision. And, the more I get involved in it, the more new things I find out about it that I didn’t know existed.”
And, she’s never quit learning. In fact, she’s currently enrolled in a certificate program in the University's Vision Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT).
Her goal moving forward is to keep learning, while possibly pursuing her doctorate in public health one day.
“Advocacy is a big thing for me, so I think advocating on the state or federal level one day, to get more resources for individuals with visual impairment, would be my ultimate goal,” said Vasile.
Among all her teaching duties and continuing education commitments, community theater isn’t the only outside activity that Vasile engages in when time permits. She likes to paint, sketch, make jewelry, play the piano and get outdoors and go hiking.
But it all comes back around to her love of teaching at Salus.
“Besides the consistent piece of me teaching online, there are always different meetings with different people, different committees on which to serve, different ways to get involved outside of Salus that still connect our students,” said Vasile. “I like that everything goes back to the same point — helping provide services to individuals with visual impairments.”