Karryn Johnsohn, a senior in civil engineering at Oregon State University, has had a passion for teaching since she was eight years old, when she taught her younger brother how to multiply numbers before he had even learned how to add or subtract. But it was her love for bridges that led her to Oregon State to pursue a bachelor’s and master’s in civil engineering. Now, preparing for graduate school, she shares some of her own inspirations and future goals.
Why did you want to go into graduate school? Why not industry?
I wanted to go to graduate school to learn more about structural engineering. I want to work in the industry after I graduate for about 15 to 20 years before pursuing a career in teaching.
When did you realize that you had a passion for teaching? What would you like to teach?
When I was eight years old, I taught my brother how to multiply before he learned to add or subtract. I want to teach lower-level engineering classes, like statics, dynamics, or programming classes. Some of the classes I took at LBCC before professional school would also be interesting to teach. With the smaller class size at community colleges, it will be easier for me to inspire students to achieve and work closely with their individual goals.
What things did you do to prepare for graduate school? Any specific coursework?
I took many of the difficult classes that nobody else wanted to take, because they were too hard. It was a really good learning experience. I got to figure out how I would fare in graduate school, and whether I’d be comfortable with the workload.
What do you want to do immediately following graduate school? Why?
I want to be an engineer for the Army — basically, a civilian who does engineering projects either overseas or locally. Last year I went on a junior field trip to Portland, where we visited engineering firms. The people at the Army Corps of Engineers were the most excited about what they did, and it made me want to work with them.
What advice do you have for other students wanting to pursue graduate school?
Apply early, and study for the GRE. Take hard classes to know if you can handle it.