Kalie, a 2012 Bethany Psychology Major graduate, is a School Psychologist at St Croix River Education District (Taylors Falls Elementary) in Rush City, Minnesota. She is studying School Psychology at the University of South Dakota and will graduate in May, 2016.
WHAT DO YOU DO • • • I am currently a school psychologist for a small elementary school north of the Twin Cities. I serve about 350 students in early childhood through fifth grade. As a school psychologist, I work with teachers, staff, and administrators to improve academic achievement and foster a positive learning environment. Every day at my job is so different, but most days I have teachers that consult with me if one of their students is displaying some behavioral or academic problems. If a student is having problems, I may also facilitate a problem-solving meeting with staff to discuss various ways to help that student. I am also able to help special education teachers develop, implement, and monitor interventions that are designed to help students catch back up to their peers. Since I am able to administer tests of achievement and cognitive abilities, one of my main jobs is to help school teams determine if a student is able to qualify for special education or not. To conduct evaluations, I gather parent, teacher, and student input, and analyze data to look for themes in the student’s ability.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU • • • Although I had majored in psychology, during my senior year at BLC, I began to realize that I had a passion for education. I began to search for ways that I could combine my two interests and discovered school psychology. I love my job because I get to work with students and teachers to help students develop the skills they need to be successful in the classroom and in daily life. In my opinion, there is nothing more rewarding than having a student see their progress and start to enjoy school again.
HOW YOU WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE • • • The reason why I chose this field is because I have always loved learning. While learning new material came relatively easy for me, I know many students become disheartened and turned off to learning because of a bad experience. I want to be able to help students realize they can learn – they might just learn in a different way than their peers. As a school psychologist, I am in a unique position to help schools develop best practices for working with students and creating a better learning environment.
HOW BETHANY HAS PREPARED YOU • • • Attending Bethany was one of the best decisions I ever made. Since BLC is a smaller college, I was able to be very active on campus. During my time at Bethany, I was a student journalist for The Scroll, tour guide, member of the Scholastic Leadership Society, and publicity chair for the Bethany Activities Committee. During my senior year, I also served as the editor of the Scroll and as a Residential Assistant. However, one of the parts I enjoyed most about Bethany was working as a teacher’s assistant for Dr. Jennifer Wosmek. It allowed me to become very familiar with child development and finding resources. Through classes and working for Dr. Wosmek, she helped me grow academically, professionally, and spiritually. If it wasn’t for her guidance and support, I know I would not be where I am today.
WHAT YOU REMEMBER MOST ABOUT BETHANY • • • One of the things I remember most about Bethany was move-in day during my freshman year. Like most freshman, I was anxious to get my dorm room set up and meet my roommates. That evening once we were all settled, we decided to go for a walk around Mankato to explore. We kept walking and taking random turns and before we knew it, we were lost. I think we ended up walking for over two hours. Now that I look back on it, I laugh because there was no reason we should have gotten lost, but I have been blessed to keep those same roommates as friends still today.
ADVICE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS • • • While it can be hard and a daunting task, I would encourage students to explore different career options. Pay attention to what interests you in your classes and do some research about different jobs related to that interest. Whether it is reading a book, shadowing someone, or even reading articles online, every bit of information can help you determine what you could do after college. I know it can seem like just another thing to do in a never-ending list, but it will pay off in the long run.