Hometown: Adna, Washington
Where I grew up, most young women got married at an early age and did not pursue higher education or a career. However, my fiddle teacher encouraged me to dream big — to go to college, travel, and explore the world. Not only was she my music teacher from ages 12 to 19, but she also taught me how to identify what I wanted and then work hard to achieve it.
The transition into college was difficult. I was homeschooled, which made being in a new social environment incredibly overwhelming. I developed anxiety and an eating disorder. My anxiety made school miserable for me. I remember counting down the days in each quarter and how many quarters I had left.
Picking a major I knew I would experience success in and enjoy was the only way I knew I would finish college. I loved reading and escaping in a book. After I attended two years of community college, I transferred to Seattle Pacific University to complete my bachelor’s in English.
While college was hard for me, I loved learning. I loved my classes at Seattle Pacific, and my professors made me feel seen.
I took classes with most of the same professors repeatedly. I felt like they knew me, and as someone with anxiety, I felt safe in their classes. I knew I could communicate my needs and be heard.
Highlights for me were Dr. Armorose’s Shakespeare class, Dr. Thorpe’s creative response final assessment, medieval literature with Dr. Reinsma, and the humor of Dr. Chaney.
Particularly, Dr. Armorose has been life changing for me. I will never forget turning in my first paper, thinking I was an incredible writer. When I did not achieve the grade I thought I would have earned, I got teary eyed. I stayed after class, and he told me I had talent — I just needed help on the structure of my essays. This example of seeing a student for their need and ability regardless of their age (or what have you) made a lasting impression on me.
Now I am a teacher. Originally, I had the plan of becoming a college English professor. But when I shared this dream with one of my favorite professors at SPU, he told me I would find my niche with younger kids. I thought that meant high school. Instead, I now teach social studies to fourth and fifth graders — and I love it.