Student Voices! BBE Graduate- Kate Sonka

Katie Sonka, a BBE alumna, is an Academic Specialist at Michigan State University. Read about her experience below!

It’s hard to believe, but I’ve been at MSU for six months already. The time has completely flown by. Last semester I taught three sections of AL 101 which is our Freshman Seminar course. The purpose of the course was to help students transition from high school to college, as well as provide an intro to the study of arts and humanities. I had just over sixty students between the sections and it was a really great way to get reacquainted with MSU life.

In addition to that, I’m leading a Faculty Learning Community on active learning, assisting with online teaching and learning, running an ePortfolio pilot program, managing the college’s web accessibility initiative, coordinating cultural/social entrepreneurship for the
college, and managing a bunch of students and their projects in our Creativity Exploratory.

But perhaps the cherry on top of all of that is that I was asked to teach a study abroad course in China this summer! I’ll be teaching an Integrative Arts & Humanities (IAH) course, which is part of the general education requirement for MSU undergrads. I can design the course topic around anything I feel like, and I plan to focus on the intersection of language/culture/identity. I still have quite a bit of research to do both about China in general, and specifically on those ideas, but I’m beyond excited. I started taking Mandarin classes today offered by our Community Language School, so that’s also exciting. Another language to add to my list!

Suffice it to say that not only do I love this job and being back at MSU, but it is everything I’m meant to do rolled up into one position. I’ve still got my eye on a Ph.D., and am really considering exploring the idea of higher ed administration.

Many of the successes in what I’m currently doing, and am planning for my future, rest squarely on the foundations the BBE
program provided. BBE helped me both hone my inquiry skills, and broaden my understanding of the world of education. While the BBE program is designed for PK-12, I never planned to go down that path. Working together with Drs. Soltero and Goulah throughout my program, I was able to craft an educational experience that left me well prepared to enter higher education. I know that my next steps, be they professional or educational, are well within reach due to the preparation I received from BBE.

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