Explain your career path
After graduating from SEMO, I was part of the 2010 St. Louis Teach For America corps. I taught social studies at Confluence Preparatory Academy for two years. I then taught for four years at Fort Zumwalt West High School in O'Fallon, MO. I have been teaching at SLUH the past three years. I currently teach freshman Human Geography and senior AP U.S. Government and Politics and AP Comparative Government and Politics.
What was your major at Southeast and what led you to that?
I majored in secondary education, social studies. I always loved social studies as a high school student. I really enjoyed my early social studies classes at SEMO, particularly in political science. Once I began taking education courses with Dr. Fridley, I knew I was in the right major for me.
Why did you choose to attend Southeast?
SEMO was the perfect size - it had the feel of a big, spirited campus but was small enough to seem like I would have a lot of opportunities to get involved. It was only two hours from my home, which was important to me. Finally, the scholarship opportunities at SEMO are amazing, and my financial award played a big role in my decision.
Who influenced you most during your time at Southeast?
Two people - Michele Irby and Daryl Fridley! I had the privilege to serve on Student Government for four years. During my junior year, Michele Irby and I met weekly. She is an amazing role model. She constantly challenged me and the other members of Student Government to practice servant leadership and advocate for the needs of the student body first and foremost. When I had some tough decisions to make my senior year about whether to commit to Teach For America, Michele was one of the first people I turned to for advice.
Daryl Fridley influenced me tremendously in my decision to become a social studies teacher. More than anyone, he taught me why the social studies are essential in our high schools today. Dr. Fridley gave really honest, constructive feedback. This helped me become a better teacher in the long run. Today, I still plan lessons using the model Dr. Fridley taught me.
Share your best college memory.
I have a lot of favorites, but one that stands out is that I had the opportunity to have dinner with Soledad O'Brien and then introduce her the first time she came for the Speaker Series. This happened to coincide with my 21st birthday, which made the whole experience even more special.
What is the most important thing you learned while you were at Southeast?
Southeast gave me confidence in myself when I was a student leader and student teacher. This has carried over into my career.
Describe Southeast in three words.
student-focused, welcoming, formational
How did your education at Southeast prepare you for what you are doing today?
My social studies education courses prepared me incredibly well for my work as a teacher. I think Southeast did a great job getting education majors into the classroom early on and mentoring us throughout our four years.
What advice would you give current students or recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in your professional field?
Teaching is more challenging than I originally thought. Those first few years are tough. I would advise recent graduates to stick with it and not be too hard on themselves; teaching is a career that allows you to constantly improve and change from day to day and year to year. I love that I have so many chances to get it right and new challenges to overcome each day.
What do you wish you had known before graduating and entering the "real world"?
I wish I had known how much I would miss college! I especially missed socializing with so many friends who lived so close to me. It's much harder to stay in touch with people after college.