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CAS Graduate Study Success Stories

Life's Experiences

Ito decided to change careers and teach late in life, but says life's experiences helped him to be a better mentor.

Crossing the finish line of the 1998 Boston Marathon was certainly a gratifying moment for Mark Ito '04, who had never before run a marathon. But if you ask him to tell you about the experience, he'll focus more on the rural landscape of Hopkinton and the "heartbreaking" hills of Newton, rather than the elation of completing the race.

"For me, running the Boston Marathon was all about enjoying the journey, not necessarily accomplishing the goal. I enjoyed seeing the towns and the spectators; I had fun being in the moment." Ito practices that philosophy in his professional life, too.

Whether directing marketing efforts for high-tech companies, running his own business, or obtaining his MBA, this native Californian always found enjoyment in the experience and was willing to adapt to challenges and opportunities. So, when personal circumstances allowed him to explore a new career path, he decided to pursue something he had always wanted to do — teach.

"I've always loved connecting with kids," says Ito. "As an undergrad, I volunteered with Big Brothers of America and I still keep in touch with my ‘little brother,' who's now in his twenties. What excites me about teaching is the opportunity to effect change in my community. Approaching the profession at this stage of my life seems right for me. I needed life's experiences to become a better role model."

Ito chose Simmons for its reputation among educators and for its flexible program. "I completed the coursework in one year, which was veryimportant to me," he explains. "The directors were willing to work with me, even before I applied. We charted a schedule and stuck to it. Now I am on my way to student-teaching English at Wellesley Middle School. It's been a rewarding journey."