Inclusivity and supportive learning environments are crucial for our students’ success, that is why we’ve asked Dr. April LaGue for advice on how we can better develop our curriculum and learning environments to support the LGBTQAI+ community. Read on to find out more! 

Providing an inclusive and affirming curriculum for all students 

In the realm of education, it is crucial that our curriculum aligns with the mission and vision of the College of Education. This sentiment is particularly emphasized by Dr. LaGue, a faculty member responsible for delivering instruction to students pursuing both school and mental health counseling degrees. Dr. LaGue underscores the significance of creating an environment where all students feel acknowledged, valued and supported. 

To achieve this, Dr. LaGue proposes several essential elements that should be incorporated into our curriculum. This includes: 

  • Accessibility and Innovation: By ensuring that our curriculum is accessible to all learners, we can break down barriers and provide equal opportunities for every student. Moreover, embracing innovation when designing our curriculum allows us to engage students in dynamic and transformative learning experiences. 
  • The need for a diverse and representative author population as well as historical narratives: By incorporating perspectives from various backgrounds and cultures, and presenting a comprehensive view of history that incorporates the experiences of marginalized communities, we can foster inclusivity and provide students with a well-rounded education that reflects the diversity of our society. 
  • Delivering education through a social justice lens: We need to integrate anti-bias education, which challenges stereotypes, biases, and prejudices. By doing so, we foster empathy, promote inclusivity, and encourage students to critically analyze societal issues through a lens of fairness and equality. 
  • Regular assessment and revision of our curriculum: This ensures that we address any gaps, strengthen its impact, and continue to provide an educational experience that meets the needs of all students 

Providing an inclusive and supportive learning environment for LGBTQAI+ students 

To create a truly supportive learning environment, it is essential that we take proactive steps to foster inclusivity and acceptance. Here are six key strategies Dr. LaGue emphasized that can contribute to this important goal: 

  1. Establishing explicit classroom guidelines that prohibit any form of bullying, harassment, and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. By clearly outlining these expectations, we set a foundation for respectful and inclusive interactions among students. 
  1. Displaying inclusive and affirming symbols, posters, or literature throughout the learning environment can serve as powerful visual reminders of diversity and acceptance. This can help create a safe and welcoming space for students who identify as LGBTQAI+. 
  1. Actively engaging with LGBTQAI+ organizations or experts to gain insights and resources. By seeking their expertise, we can gain a deep understanding of the challenges faced by LGBTQAI+ individuals and access relevant materials that can enhance our curriculum and teaching approaches. 
  1. Avoid assumptions about students’ identities and utilize gender-neutral language whenever appropriate. Respecting students’ self-identification, chosen names, and pronouns is essential in creating an inclusive environment that acknowledges and affirms their individuality. 
  1. Collaborate with local or on-campus LGBTQAI+ organizations or community centers. By inviting guest speakers from these organizations, we can provide students with diverse perspectives and experiences, fostering a greater understanding and appreciation for LGBTQAI+ issues. 
  1. Foster a culture where differences are celebrated and respected. This can be achieved by promoting open dialogue, understanding, and empathy through discussions, presentations, or awareness campaigns focused on LGBTQAI+ topics. By encouraging students to actively engage in these conversations, we empower them to become advocates for equality and inclusion. 

What Dr. LaGue has learned while working with LGBTQAI+ students in supporting them 

Dr. LaGue believes the importance of recognizing intersectionality is a crucial aspect of understanding the experiences of individuals within the LGBTQAI+ community. Their journeys are influenced by the complex interplay of multiple identities, including race, ethnicity, disability, and socioeconomic status, alongside their LGBTQAI+ identity. To truly support and empower these individuals, it is essential to actively listen to their stories, respect their self-identified labels, and allow them to define their own experiences. By fostering a non-judgmental learning environment that promotes empathy and validation of their experiences and concerns, we can create a space where every individual feels seen, understood, and valued. 

Conclusion & Resources 

In summary, Dr. LaGue underscores the importance of aligning our curriculum with the College of Education’s mission and vision. Through our collective efforts, we can ensure that all students feel valued, respected, and empowered to thrive academically and personally and always feel that they have a safe space to express themselves. Dr. LaGue devotes her work to her students’ success and is a valued member of the Oregon Department of Education LGBTQ2SIA+ student success committee. Click here for more LGBTQ2SIA+ resources. 

Xin chào from Vietnam!

I am so excited to be updating you about my last couple of months as a United States Fulbright
Scholar in Hà Nội, Vietnam. I am all settled in and find myself comfortable with daily routines at
work and home. Life is good!

Turns out, my Vietnamese colleagues usually work 5 ½ days per week including Saturday
mornings compared to usually a 5-day work week for most people back home! They do,
however, take naps after lunch, so in the end it sums up to about the same work hours per

On the Mekong Delta

My colleagues and I are enjoying our weekly English Club meetings where we have discussions
about academic issues, Vietnamese and American cultures, and practice each other’s
languages. In one of our club meetings, we discussed Vietnamese cuisine where we brought in
and shared our favorite dishes for others to experience. We also discuss cultural bias and
attitudes in order to explain differences in reactions and behaviors with an emphasis on
understanding and empathy. These discussions can be a lot of fun, and are always interesting!
One of our meetings covered differences in health care in Vietnam and the U.S. In Vietnam,
health care quality is similar to that in the US in larger cities with well-trained doctors. However,
in rural areas health care can be quite limited. In both urban and rural areas, the pharmacy
serves as an urgent care clinic, with the pharmacist diagnosing minor illness and injuries and
dispensing medicine, often with no prescription required. Vietnamese usually pay out-of-pocket,
but health care services are much less expensive than those in the U.S. Wealthier Vietnamese
often carry health insurance, which is often sold in combination with life insurance.

In addition to English Club and a number of guest-speaking opportunities in my colleagues’
education courses, I participate in a number of research seminars and workshops. These have
included the Hanoi Forum on Pedagogical and Educational Sciences in which I presented
research on teacher change and professional development. I also gave a seminar on publishing
in international journals, where I discussed how to select appropriate Western journals and
explained tiered journal rankings.

Most recently, I was invited by EducationUSA of the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi to give a
presentation on accreditation in American universities to Vietnamese high school counselors.
The goal was to provide a quality check that counselors could use to help their students avoid
“diploma mills” in the US.

It is common for me to be asked to give the “U.S. perspective” on a variety of seemingly random
topics. So anytime I’m invited to an event, I’ve learned that I need to be prepared to speak, even
though the presentations are nearly always in Vietnamese. During one occasion, the speaker
mentioned my name during his presentation which was otherwise in Vietnamese. I asked my
friend sitting next to me what the speaker had said, to which my friend replied: “He introduced
you as the next speaker.” I had no idea that I was speaking that day!

Teacher Change Presentation and Reaction Panel

The university celebrated Teacher’s Day on November 19th, where we enjoyed skits, dances
and songs from the students. I had the opportunity to present a response to the keynote session
saddressing Liberal Art Education philosophy and its relationship to teacher preparation.
Providing the response was a challenge, given that the keynote was delivered entirely in
Vietnamese with no translation! I’ve learned to adopt a can-do Beaver attitude and just do my
best in these situations, and so far that’s been enough! During the celebration I was honored to
give the Handwriting Awards and sing a song with my Vietnamese colleagues. I was even
coerced into trying my hand (or more literally foot) onstage in the Vietnamese bamboo pole
dance performed by our student members of the Muong ethnic group!

Receiving Student Award at the Teachers Day Celebration

Unfortunately, in early December I tested positive for Covid-19 after a short trip to Phú Quốc
Island. I used my week in isolation to assist the U.S. Embassy in evaluating the 29 applications
for the Vietnamese Visiting Scholar Program. Luckily, I was in the clear in time for the applicant
evaluation panel, which took place in the beautiful mountain city of Đà Lạt.

In January, I had the opportunity to visit Olympia Schools, an international school that is
primarily for Vietnamese students. Here, I discussed with partnership executive Đỗ Dương
Hồng Đào the feasibility of the school hosting Oregon State education interns to provide English
and pedagogy support as the school adopts more experiential and inquiry-based learning. Ms.
Đào agreed to write a draft plan for possible internships and then invited me to give a STEM/
STEAM speech to the Olympia students. Later in February, the head of the science department
for Olympia Schools informed me that they could host interns during the annual summer camp
(2 sessions, 4 weeks each). She also offered me the opportunity to conduct a lesson on the
nature of science for students this coming Spring, as well as a workshop on inquiry instruction
for the science teachers. I’m so pleased to have made contact with Olympia schools and for the
enthusiastic reception I have received there.

Fulbright-Sponsored Trip to the Mekong Delta

Mua Caves in Ninh Binh
Núi Cốc Lake Near Thái Nguyên

I had several opportunities to travel and celebrate the Vietnamese holidays. For example, I was
able to visit beautiful Phú Quốc Island and also the northern city of Thái Nguyên where the
faculty and I prepared Bánh Chưng, a type of rice cake prepared for the Tết Holiday. We also
visited Núi Cốc lake and then returned to Hà Nội, where we celebrated the New Year and
watched the firework celebrations from afar. In January, I met with some friends to celebrate my
birthday and visit the War Remnants Museum. The museum displays were both tragic and
enlightening and helped me better understand the suffering the war brought to both sides and
appreciate even more the warm welcome I’ve received from my Vietnamese friends.

In closing, it’s been an incredible experience here in Vietnam and I am very excited for what lies
ahead and will be sending more updates soon!

Tạm biệt bây giờ!

Sunset at Phú Quốc Island

OSU Counseling student Violeta A. Murrieta’s research centers on how school counselors support undocumented students with their social-emotional needs, academic needs, post-secondary options, and community resources. As part of the College of Education’s recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, we interviewed Violeta via email to learn what she’s discovering about the stressors this unique population.

College of Education: Thank you for joining us, Violeta. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and what you are studying and researching at Oregon State University?

Violeta: Sure! I am currently a doctoral candidate pursuing a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision here at Oregon State. I have been a school counselor for over nine years and I am licensed in California and Nevada. Currently, I work as an elementary school counselor in the Bay Area. I love being a counselor, I enjoy helping students and working with families. I am passionate about supporting the undocumented population, as a former high school counselor I witnessed the difficulties undocumented students experienced and how difficult it was for them to explore post-secondary options with their status looming over them. When I was accepted in the PhD program, I knew right away I wanted my research to focus on the undocumented population. Therefore, my current studies aim to explore how school counselors support undocumented students with their social-emotional needs, academic needs, and post-secondary options given the unique stressors they experience both in and out of school.

College of Education: Adolescence is a tough time for anyone, but do undocumented students have some unique stressors on them?

Violeta: Undocumented youth absolutely experience additional stressors, such as, adapting to a new culture, language barriers, limited postsecondary and work options, trauma, and fear of deportation amongst other things. Living with this uncertainty can exasperate other issues as well. The stressors that undocumented students face impact all aspects of their life, and this is why I am curious about how school counselors support this population. 

College of Education: What kind of barriers to treatment might a school counselor have when dealing with an undocumented student? 

Violeta: There are many barriers that school counselors face when attempting to support undocumented students. When referring students to mental health services, students and their families are hesitant to seek these resources due to possibly having to disclose their status, lack of insurance, and lack of official identification. Another barrier may be stigma around mental health.

College of Education: The College of Education is doing a lot of research around how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted K-12 schools and students over the last three years. How were undocumented students affected by the pandemic? Did they encounter some challenges unique to their situations?

Violeta: Undocumented families were largely affected by the pandemic, parents and guardians lost their jobs and they were not eligible for government assistance, which resulted in housing and food insecurity.

College of Education: There has always been a stigma around mental health concerns in this country. What can K-12 counselors do to help mitigate feelings of shame or embarrassment among any students who may have emotional or mental health concerns?

Violeta: As a school counselor, it is imperative to normalize feelings from an early age. I present classroom curriculum lessons on social emotional learning to all grade levels. We practice coping strategies and have discussions about how to express our feelings. My hope is that by normalizing this, students will feel more comfortable discussing their feelings and reaching out for help.

College of Education: What’s one big message you’d really like K-12 school personnel to know about mental health and their students?

Violeta: I am a firm believer that in order for students to be successful in school (i.e. academics) we must tend to their mental well-being first. It is important for educators to be knowledgeable about signs of distress. We have the privilege of connecting with students every day, if you recognize or have an inclination that something is wrong, reach out to a school counselor immediately. 

Dr. Amanda Kibler, a professor in the College of Education, centers her research and interest in
language and literacy development for multilingual children, adolescents, and families who are
from immigrant backgrounds and are learning English as an additional language in the United
States. In her recent publication in the International Journal of Bilingual Education and
Bilingualism, “‘I’ll be the hero’: how adolescents negotiate intersectional identities within a high
school language program”, Dr. Kibler examines students in dual language immersion programs
— where students from different language backgrounds learned Spanish and English together
— and witnesses the interactions and negotiations between students and their identities.

Dr. Kibler uses the term “intersectional identities” throughout her research. She explains this as
an “idea that our identities are both multiple and they’re inseparable from each other… and that
particular combinations of identities might bring us more or less power and privilege in a

These identities are related to age, race, gender, class, language, gender, sexuality, etc. Kibler
also describes intersectional identities as having a micro and macro level that makes you who
you are. Macro levels would be the items listed above, and micro levels are things that come up
during our interactions with others such as how to hold a conversation or engage with others.
Dr. Kibler explains that within our school systems, intersectional identities are often ignored.
Students are typically treated as a single category or a single box to check, which inaccurately
reduces complex people to singular labels. This can lead to stereotyping and can create
inaccurate and unfair expectations for how a student may perform.

During Dr. Kibler’s study, Spanish- and English-background adolescents in a dual language
immersion classroom were given a task of creating a bilingual children’s book for elementary
school children. Kibler’s research team observed how the adolescents brought themselves into
the conversation of writing these books and how they “negotiated” their complex identities that
may have had more or less power in that setting.

During the creation of their books, the adolescents put together not only their academic
identities, but also their social, extracurricular, racial, linguistic and gendered identities. For
multilingual students from immigrant backgrounds who spoke Spanish as a home language, Dr.
Kibler and her colleagues found that students’ Spanish expertise both helped and hindered their
efforts to assert powerful and positive identities in the dual language program. In some cases,
these students’ expertise in Spanish helped them create more privileged identities for
themselves that disrupted traditional power dynamics. In other cases, however, peers’
misunderstandings about these multilingual students’ Spanish expertise led to them being seen
as either uncooperative or unskilled in their own home languages. So how can teachers use Dr. Kibler’s information to enhance learning and involvement in class?

One way is to make sure students feel like they are in a safe and accepting environment to be
able to claim their own identities. Stereotypes exist even in dual language programs, and so
teachers in all settings need to consider issues of power and privilege.

“Multilingual adolescents may bring some very powerful identities, and some very marginalized
identities in combination, and we have to listen to them to understand what those identities are,”
said Dr. Kibler.

Listening carefully to their students — rather than making assumptions — can help teachers
understand who and what their identities are. Dr. Kibler also states that it is important to talk
directly with the students and encourage them to challenge stereotypes inside and outside the
classroom so that both educators and students can work together to create more equitable classroom environments.

Dr. Randy Bell with his motorbike
Dr. Randy Bell with his brand new motorbike.

Hà Nội Ơi!

Greetings from Vietnam! In my regular job, I serve as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Science Education Professor at OSU’s College of Education. This year I’m on the very first sabbatical of my career, serving as visiting professor in the University of Education at Vietnam National University (VNU). I am also honored to serve here as a Fulbright Scholar.

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international cultural exchange program, whose goal is to promote understanding between nations, advance knowledge across communities, and improve lives worldwide. As a Fulbright Scholar, I teach science education classes, provide professional development for VNU faculty, assist students and faculty with English speaking skills, and explore the possibility of a teaching internship for OSU students in Hà Nội schools. Even my day-to-day activities are part of the Fulbright mission, as I interact with my Vietnamese friends and neighbors and promote good will and mutual understanding.

Being introduced to VNU Faculty of Natural Sciences. (Photo by Randy Bell.)

This will be the first in a series of blogs that, along with plenty of photos, will recount my experiences in Vietnam. Through these updates, I hope not only to share more about this beautiful country and its people, but how my work as a faculty member of the College of Education is impacting university faculty and students on the other side of the world. 

My first full month in Vietnam (October) was very busy! I moved into offices on two campuses and participated in Freshman welcoming ceremonies at the newly opened Hoa Lac VNU campus. This month I also conducted a half-dozen faculty seminars, taught three lessons to science education students, led Vietnamese children on a museum tour, provided three keynote addresses and was interviewed by a national Morning Show TV host. I even purchased a motorbike for transportation.

Keynote address for grand opening of VNU University of Education new location at Hoa Lac. (Photo by Randy Bell.)

Speaking of motorbikes, traffic is something else here in Hà Nội! Traffic rules are viewed simply as mild suggestions, and it’s not uncommon to see drivers blatantly run red lights or drive the wrong way on a six-lane highway! Even crossing the street is hazardous, as pedestrians do not have the right of way. Westerners here exclaim in frustration (and fear) that Hà Nội traffic is crazy, and most can’t believe I drive here. But I think that’s not the only way to look at it– Hà Nội traffic norms are undoubtedly different from what’s familiar, but they work for Hà Nội. In the US, we (generally) obey traffic rules so that we can drive safely at high speeds on fairly open roads. In Hà Nội, where the roads are exponentially more crowded, it’s the driver’s responsibility to maintain a reasonable speed and anticipate other drivers and pedestrians to make unexpected moves. When this happens, you simply drive around the temporary obstacle while beeping your horn. In this way, traffic flows, and people get where they’re going even when the traffic is extremely heavy. 

I see Hà Nội traffic as a metaphor for my Fulbright experience here in Vietnam. The language, professional, and cultural norms here differ significantly from what I’ve known as an OSU professor. As a visitor to this rich culture, I am enjoying the opportunity to experience these differences and step outside of my comfort zone as I consider new possibilities for how to work and live productively. I am blessed with new friends and colleagues eager to guide me on this journey to understand and become a better-connected citizen of the world. Living abroad can be difficult, and even a little scary at times, but just like crossing a busy street in Hà Nội, faith, courage, and little help from your friends can get you where you want to be.

My home for the next year is the Nam Từ Liêm district of Hà Nội, the capital city of Vietnam. Being from Oregon, I’m used to rainy weather, but still adjusting to the high temperature and higher humidity here.

Sunset on West lake, Hà Nội
Sunset on West lake, Hà Nội. (Photo by Randy Bell)

People have been living in Hà Nội for more than 1,000 years, so there’s plenty to do and see when I’m not engaged in professional duties.  My colleagues and I have formed an English Club in which they hone their conversational English skills and I work on my Vietnamese. We always have a great time, and travel around Hà Nội for great food and views. Of all the wonderful things I’ve experienced in Vietnam, the best is the friendship and good times I’ve enjoyed with my new colleagues.

Till next time, Tạm biệt! Randy

Photo of a person sitting with a laptop in front of them on a desk and their hand on a computer mouse.

Dr. Arien K. Muzacz, clinical associate professor for the College of Education’s Master of Counseling Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, is helping usher in a new era where counseling services will reach clients through technology. 

Last fall, Dr. Muzacz was the recipient of a professional development award from the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC); this summer, she completed required trainings and a national exam to earn a new credential, the BC-TMH (Board Certification in Telemental Health). The award, which is presented through the NBCC’s Center for Credentialing & Education, included a $500 award to help Dr. Muzacz facilitate professional development in the area of telemental health.

The NBCC is the nation’s premier certification board devoted to credentialing those who meet standards for the general and specialty practices of professional counseling. The organization also provides what is considered the Gold Standard for those practicing remotely or specializing in telemental health. 

Telehealth, which is the distribution of health-related services through technology, is not new. Many Oregonians have used technology to communicate with their health care providers in some form or another, whether it is setting up appointments, checking lab results, or consulting on a new health concern. However, telehealth became more common and more vital during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. But, the telehealth innovations that came out of that global crisis do not always benefit clients in need of counseling services. 

Beyond the obvious privacy concerns, many Oregonians may not have access to internet-ready devices, or the bandwidth needed to get telehealth services. Even in heavily populated areas like Portland, potential clients may rely on libraries or other public spaces for their internet access — hardly an ideal situation for a counseling session. 

“As counselors, we are always looking for ways to reduce barriers for our clients,” said Dr. Muzacz. “Telehealth has great potential in this area. Even without the pandemic, telehealth could help counselors reach those living in very rural locations, or in smaller communities where in-person counseling services are few or nonexistent.”

But barriers still exist. Beyond access to the needed technology, Dr. Muzacz notes that it is vital for counselors to ensure confidentiality and implement best practices to make sure clients receive the same quality of care they would when meeting with a counselor in person.

“During the height of the pandemic, some privacy requirements through the Health and Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) were waived as the need for telemental health grew during an unprecedented crisis,” said Dr. Muzacz. “But as social distancing and other restrictions have eased, those exemptions are being reversed and counselors providing remote services will need to adapt to ensure privacy for their clients.”

Dr. Muzacz’s NBCC certification will allow her to build on her own expertise as a professional counselor and set an example for many of the College of Education Master’s students who are considering careers in telemental health.

“Due largely to the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home is very appealing to many of our students,” Dr. Muzacz said. “It’s our responsibility to fill in the gaps in their training to make sure they’re providing the highest quality care. I’m looking forward to helping them integrate these standards into their professional practice.”

The College of Education congratulates Dr. Muzacz on her award and the vital work she does for our students and our fellow Oregonians.

Post written by Marsh Myers

Graphic featuring photo of Amanda Kibler alongside text and the College of Education Logo.

Amanda Kibler is a Professor and Program Chair at the College of Education, whose work was recently published in the NYS TESOL (New York State Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) Journal. To read her open access article for free, titled Teacher Collaboration To Support Multilingual Students Designated As English Learners: Ecological Perspectives and Critical Questions, follow the link here.

Marguerite Hagan gives back to nurture the value of a good education

Donor Highlight graphic featuring Marguerite Hagen

Of all of life’s gifts Marguerite Hagan has received, faith, a loving husband, successful children, plenty of small, smiling grandchildren; the best gift she ever received was a good education. And in return she’s spent the rest of her life in dozens of classrooms sharing that gift.

“We value the importance of education and what a difference it can make in your life. I think for us, when we were able to financially support Oregon State we looked at the departments that meant the most to us, mine being the College of Education,” Hagen said. 

Alongside being a pillar in her own classrooms and her children’s classrooms, Hagen’s generosity toward the College of Education has been vital to the success of its students and budding teachers, like she once was. 

Hagen grew up on her family’s farm in the town of Enterprise, Oregon. She and three of her four siblings attended Oregon State; her older sister attended nursing school. 

Her parents attended Oregon State for a couple years as well, before her father enlisted and upon his return married Hagen’s mother. Having grown up visiting campus to see her sisters and hearing stories about Oregon State, Hagen said campus already felt like home by the time she came to Oregon State. 

Hagen graduated from Oregon State in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Health. As early as freshman year, she was involved in hands-on teaching experiences through the College of Education. She would help set up reading programs at a local school in Peoria, Oregon. 

She said she felt very welcomed at the College of Education, where she found the programs and activities to be personalized to students’ needs, and helpful in guiding her toward the direction she wanted to go. 

Her sophomore and junior years were spent in the Corvallis School District, and in her senior year she taught in the Portland Public School District. 

“I felt like they really prepared you for the classroom. You can read in a textbook, but it’s the personal experience that makes a difference. Having that experience early on in a classroom setting and being around other teachers, getting their perspective, really helped me,” she said. 

Among the livelihood of springtime in Corvallis, Hagen met her husband Ron Hagen. During the last term of her senior year, Hagen’s friends had arranged a blind date that involved pizza at a friend’s house and a friend-of-a-friend she “had to meet.” 

Marguerite and Ron bonded over both being one of five siblings, small Oregon towns, and their outdoorsy lifestyles. The two have been married for 43 years, and have three children that all attended Oregon State. 

“Well, 43 years later, I guess it was meant to be. We’re really proud of that,” Hagen said. 

Upon graduation, Hagen moved up to Portland, Oregon where she taught 3rd grade at St. Thomas More Catholic School. Being her first full-time teaching gig, she enjoyed how involved the families were with the children in her classroom, and learned how important it is to have a supportive family structure behind young students.

“When I was teaching, a supportive family made such a difference for the students. You want a teacher who really helps the families understand how the child is learning. It’s just teamwork,” she said.

Hagen carried this knowledge along with her to Eugene, Oregon, where she and her husband moved after getting married a year later. In Eugene, she taught 4th grade at O’Hara Catholic School. After 7 years of teaching, Hagen became a full-time mother and remained active in the community learning new skills.

Hagen had her three children; however, she never really left the classroom. From elementary to high school, she was involved in her children’s classrooms as a volunteer and worked at the Career Center at their high school. 

Being in the classroom always meant more to her than being a teacher. At the Career Center she helped students navigate financial burdens, and find pathways toward continuing their education.

“One of the things that I think is important is that kids from the rural communities can be aware of these things,” Hagen said. “Sometimes you don’t know what kinds of scholarships are available, and we hope that that’s available to all kinds of students and schools.”

Hagen hopes that the current and future students of the College of Education will find that teaching is rooted in genuine care for their students.

“You hope that teachers will be unlocking the potential of each student. You want people who are dedicated to the field of education. My hope is that teachers are passionate about what they do and that it’s not just a job,” she said. 

Now Hagen is a grandmother of many. She jokes about having “her own preschool” made up of all her grandchildren, and continues to volunteer weekly in their classrooms reading to the students and finding creative activities for the students to learn from, like crafting birdhouses. 

Looking back at all that has led her to a big family of Oregon State students, and a preschool of grandchildren, her appreciation for the education she received at Oregon State is why Hagen chooses to give back to the College of Education. 

“Getting an education really changed my life, and I think my husband would agree. It changed our lives. And we see that with our children now and even our grandchildren; the importance of a good education. It matters, and it means a lot,” she said.

Get to know College of Education Student Ambassador Nathan Ratalsky in this student highlight!

What led you to Oregon State University?

I was drawn to Oregon State University for a few reasons! First, I really liked its education program. Two degrees for a five year plan? Sign me up! The College’s history and beautiful campus was also a big selling point for me right out of high school. And finally, I wanted to stay in Oregon through my college experience. I’ve lived here most of my life and I really enjoy the amazing nature this state has to offer. OSU is nestled between scenic farmlands, old-growth forests, and the beach is only an hour’s drive away. These were all pretty big selling points for me!

What is your major or field of study and why did you choose it?

I’m studying history and secondary education, and pursuing a minor in Spanish.  I’ve wanted to teach for as long as I can remember. History, while not always my strongest academic subject, was always interesting to me too. When I came to OSU, I decided that I’d go for a teaching degree, which was always the plan, and that I’d push myself to learn more about history and how to be a historian. Looking back on it now, that was probably not the smartest decision, but I’m glad I made it! It’s been incredibly rewarding to work with the history department here, and now that I’m in my student teaching year, I’m able to apply the skills I’ve learned in my lessons.

If you do research, what kind of research do you do?

I don’t really do any research anymore. My final history class was last year, and since then I’ve been focusing heavily on student teaching. I guess, the research I’m doing right now, if you can call it that, has just been learning how I want to teach in the future and figuring out what kind of teacher I want to be.  This isn’t very academic, I know, but I’ve really enjoyed it! It’s extremely satisfying to be able to stand in front of a classroom and use what I’ve learned throughout my college career to achieve my long-held goal of becoming a teacher.

What extracurricular activities do you participate in?

Outside of school, I work as a Peer Tutor/Advisor for the College of Education. I work with students who are preparing for their content area exams, and help new students figure out what path they’d like to take with their studies. Aside from that, I’m a new member of OSU’s Kendo Club!

What do you like to do for fun, in your free time?

In my free time, I like to play music, read, box, and hang out with friends!

What advice would you give to a future College of Education student?

Meet with your advisors at least once a term, for sure.  I’ve seen plenty of students ignore meeting with their advisors early on, I was one of them. I got lucky and my schedule ended up working out, but there are many students who don’t take advantage of the help advisors provide and it ends up biting them in the butt later on. College advisors know how to get you through your college career efficiently; they’re there to use that knowledge to help you plan your classes so you can graduate as quickly as possible. Nobody wants to have to pay for a whole extra year of tuition just because they were cocky and scheduled their classes poorly in their freshman or sophomore year! Use the resources you’re paying for!