Degree: Elementary Education, BA, minor in literacy
Hometown: Petoskey, Michigan
Why did you choose to pursue a teaching degree at UNI?: UNI is known for its teaching program, and that was my main reason for picking UNI. After touring UNI with some friends, I felt it was the right place for me...the right place to be. The campus is beautiful, and there is something for everyone.
What path did you take to achieve your degree? My path is different than most. I always knew I wanted to work with kids, but after high school I went down a different path. I got married and moved away because he was in the Marine Corps. I always knew I wanted to work with children, but didn’t know what age. After working for the military at a few different child development centers and loving what I was doing, I realized I wanted to work with slightly older children. When my daughter was old enough for preschool, I realized the time was right to go back to school. I wanted to do it for myself and for her. I wanted to show her that age is just a number, and it doesn't define you. If you want it bad enough and are willing to work hard, then it can be done.
What does completing your degree mean to you? Completing my degree means more than most will understand. Completing my degree is something I never thought I would get to do. I was told things such as it wasn’t the right time, I didn’t need it, or I wouldn’t complete it because I had too much on my plate. My parents didn’t push college growing up and, in high school, I didn’t care if I went to college because of everything life threw at me. As I went through life, I realized how much I needed it. I needed to show my daughter that she can accomplish anything, I wanted a better life for myself and her, and I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. I’ve been lucky enough to meet people along the way that have pushed me and made me a better person and this degree became so much more than doing it for myself. This degree is also for all those who believed in me along the way and helped me become successful.
What challenges did you face as you worked toward this degree – and how did you overcome them? I faced a few challenges along the way, but I always kept my goal in mind and kept pushing. It wasn’t always easy and at times I felt like giving up on my degree was the only choice I had, but then I would lean on friends for support, and they kept me going. I also had a few awesome professors who helped me through some tough times and kept me going.
How did UNI help you achieve your goals? UNI helped me achieve my goals by giving me the experience that I need as a future teacher. The amount of field experience we get is amazing. It really took away some of my fears of being a future teacher. UNI gave me the confidence I need in the classroom to be a successful teacher.
What’s your best memory of your time at UNI? My best memory of my time at UNI will always be hanging out with the girls between classes and just catching up and laughing. My group of friends are friends that I will continue to hang out with and lean on as we continue our next chapters in life. I will also miss getting to share my love of Retrieving Freedom Inc. with UNI. UNI allowed me to help train future service dogs by bringing dogs in training to classes with me and making students aware of the do’s and don’ts of service dogs.
What advice would you give to students considering UNI? I would tell them to not think twice. UNI allows students to get a lot of field experience, and I believe the amount of field experience we got was beneficial. We got hands-on experience, and it allowed us opportunities to see how real teachers feel and handle difficult situations. We learned things that can’t be taught in textbooks. Find a group of friends that you can count on and lean on when times get tough.
What’s next? I am hoping to stay in the Cedar Valley area and work as an elementary teacher before going back to get my master’s.