“Don’t be a teacher! It’s a lot of work and takes a lot out of you”, warned Keri Imada’s mother. “But as they say, teaching is a calling… and I heard that call”, says Imada.
Keri Imada was inspired by her mother, a hard-working educator who would dedicate her time to a job “she loved and carried an influential passion for”. This year, Imada is graduating from the College of Education’s Double Degree program with a Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) degree and an Education degree.
Imada has an experienced background in education. Starting at a young age she would help her mother in the classroom on the weekends with her sister, saying, “the empty hallways was our playground!” In high school, Imada enjoyed tutoring “several middle students and…creating activities to help them with their studies.”
She was surprised that she ended up in Oregon for college, since she “grew up in Hawaii and I didn’t plan on coming to the mainland for college.” But one day she applied to OSU and got accepted. Imada is very happy she came to OSU since it has “given [her] insight to the world beyond the shores of Hawaii” where she was able to meet so many new people and learn so many new things. “I wouldn’t trade my experience here at OSU for anything”, says Imada.
Imada shares that her last few years in the Education program were busy due to student teaching and classes saying, that the “days were long…after teaching all day, I come home and work on papers.” In the program, she enjoyed her HDFS classes “full of amazing information” and making “new friends that have the same passion and love for education that I do.” Although it has been a busy last few years, Imada says, “It has been a long journey, but one that I am proud to have walked down.”
After graduation Imada is hoping to find a teaching position in the Beaverton or Hillsboro school district. Imada says, “I love Corvallis, but I am ready for another adventure.” She is excited (and nervous) to have her own classroom and implement her own style of teaching. Imada “hopes to help shape the future by touching the lives of the students that come through [her] classroom and helping [them] advance towards a brighter future.”
Suzette Savoie found a spark in her teaching talents while working as a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Wyoming teaching Physical Geography. As an undergraduate, she was also mentoring kids and found that she is able to make great relationships with them. At Oregon State, she was able to “combine [her] passion for science and mentoring” through completion of the Master of Science in Education program this year.
Originally from Alabama, Savoie “moved out west for the mountains”; and her love for camping and trout fishing definitely fit into the Oregonian culture. Savoie has enjoyed her time at OSU going to a few baseball games, taking a stained-glass class at the craft center and attending some science talks as well. Her last few years of school, she admits, were “quite accelerated and tough; however, I had a great support group in my peers, professors, cooperating teachers, friends, and family which helped me tremendously in sticking it through to the end.”
Through her prior experience and her time at OSU, Savoie discovered a key to building authentic relationships with students. “I think that having a great sense of humor and being able to laugh at yourself is key to becoming a successful teacher. Having strong skills in empathy and compassion are also essential in teaching,” she shared.
After graduation, Savoie plans on being a middle school science teacher. Although Savoie is nervous about the state of the U.S. education system, she still says, “I’m excited about beginning this new chapter in my life where I help to inspire kids to be curious about science.”
Graduate Student Stories- Program: Community College Leadership
Bruce Hattendorf’s final years of school have been challenging, but his hard work and determination has paid off and he is graduating from the Community College Leadership (CCL) program this year. Hattendorf began his work in the education field as a tenured English professor before being asked to step into a role as an Associate Dean of Instruction. “I had no administrative experience or training at the time”, says Hattendorf, “so I enrolled in the CCL program to develop professionally and also to get a degree that would allow me to advance my administrative career in the future.”
Hattendorf was attracted to the OSU program saying, “I am very committed to the community college mission and OSU had one of the few higher education leadership programs that focused specifically on my area of interest.” He also found at “doing the program and learning a new job that was directly related to the program simultaneously, was a great way to learn.”
As a distance student, Hattendorf says that the most valuable experience was “the cohort interaction, both at Silver Falls and online [because] the cohort provided great friendships and terrific professional contacts.”
While in the program, one of the challenges was being able to “balance work, school, and life” because “it meant putting a lot of my personal life on hold – or at least scheduling things more carefully.” Hattendorf was very busy due to “working full time and [becoming] a full Dean at that point”, and yet his determination pressed on—listening to advice from a former OSU student who had completed the same program, “to take three weeks off at Christmas and lock [himself] in a room and write”, Hattendorf did just that, using vacation time during school breaks to get the work done.
After graduation, Hattendorf plans to continue his current job as Dean for Arts and Sciences at Peninsula College in Port Angeles, Washington and with the pressure of his dissertation lifted, he hopes to have more time to enjoy hiking and traveling with his wife and dogs, as well as being more involved in community arts and practicing his creative writing again. Hattendorf is optimistic about the education field, saying that “the thing about education, whether it’s in the classroom or at the administrative level, is that we can always find ways to get better at what we do, and I find that exciting and engaging.”