Why did you choose to double major at Concordia?
When I visited my senior year of high school, I didn't really know what I wanted to do. I met with Dr. Darrell Stolle in the education department and, after talking to me, he said, “I think you should double major. I think you could make this happen.” And then I did it. Basically, I have two very split passions and I want to combine them so that in the future I can use global studies in a middle school or high school setting and actually teach it.
Tell us about your senior capstone project for your global studies major.
I made a unit plan for an imaginary global studies course all about globalization, which is a very large concept that usually wouldn’t be tackled in middle school. For this unit plan, I looked up the menus on all the different McDonald’s websites around the world. Then, I had my imaginary students compare the menus and figure out where globalization is at play within those menus.
I also did a “globalization role-play” where students pretended to be different countries and used hand signals and motions like jumping to see all of the different ways that globalization can affect themselves and each other all at the same time. By the end of the 20-minute role-play, the students would be doing five different actions at once that all represent globalization. I’m actually student teaching right now and I did that role-play with actual students for the first time. It was really cool to see how it worked and how students learned something from it.
What has been the best part of student teaching?
I am actually in an ELL classroom, so I’m with English language learners. I have 60 students and it’s very unique. It’s one of the first times a student was allowed to be in an ELL classroom for student teaching, so it’s been a huge learning curve. The best part is getting to know my students and how amazing they are. I mean, my students are from all over the world. Throughout the entire program, there are about 30 different languages that are spoken and they are all learning English at the same time that I am teaching U.S. and World History. It’s been so fun to see the different things these students are capable of.
We did an activity last week on primary source analysis, which is a very hard thing even for college students. These students were looking at pictures of the Atlantic Slave Trade, which is a very tough subject to talk about, and they were hardcore analyzing it. They could barely speak some of the things that they wanted to say and, yet, here they were going after it. It’s just been really cool. Every single day, I think, “Wow, this is an amazing experience.”
My classroom has ninth-graders all the way up to age 21 and it’s amazing to be in this room full of students while I’m only 21. I’m the same age as some of my students and that’s been really cool just to see how you can teach and that relationship can still develop.
In what ways has Concordia helped you grow?
The whole concept of BREW – Becoming Responsibly Engaged in the World – has shown me that there are so many different ways that you can make that happen, even in your own community. If you had told me that there was an ELL program like there is at West Fargo High School, I would not have expected it. Concordia has been there every step of the way to provide different opportunities. Last summer, I went to Tanzania and taught English for a month through the education department. That was a beyond amazing experience. I mean, everyone’s dream is to live in the Serengeti and I did it and that’s so cool. My professors have constantly been pushing me to make the impossible happen. I was told a couple of times by several different faculty that I couldn’t make this double major happen, but all it took was one faculty member to say, “We’re going to do it” and then we went for it. And it happened. That support is really cool.
Have you had a favorite professor or class?
My freshman year, my Inquiry Seminar was “Adventure and Risk” with Scott Olsen. That was by far my favorite class. Learning about adventure and thinking about things differently and going on adventures was so fun. I got to fly a plane and go scuba diving and that was so cool right from the start.
What has been your favorite memory so far at Concordia?
I have so many! Definitely going to Tanzania. That was a super amazing opportunity.
I also work in the Admission Office and I would say that entire experience has been a favorite memory. It’s something I’ll always look back on and think about how wonderful that program is and those people are with the different ways they have that Cobber spirit.
What advice would you give a prospective student?
Your college experience is up to you. If you go after it and make things happen for yourself, this will be one of the best times in your life. You have to advocate for yourself.