Southeast Missouri State University middle school education student Kara Miller recently served with AmeriCorps in her hometown of Malden, Mo., where she attends Southeast Missouri State University-Malden.
AmeriCorps addresses the critical needs of communities across America. Kara assisted the organization in conducting science experiments for area students. With AmeriCorps, she traveled to various schools in the region to help make science fun for kids.
“It was a wonderful experience,” she says,” adding, “This was a great way for me to get my foot in the door of schools in my area, and it really helped me grow as a teacher. During this time, I learned management skills, how to work closely with my coworkers, and how to work with students of all ages. I also gained confidence while teaching large and small groups of students.”
Kara’s time with AmeriCorps resulted in a scholarship from the organization. At the Malden campus, Kara was awarded endowed scholarships and a Southeast A+ Scholarship, which covers incidental, general, technology and maintenance fees for up to 299-level course work. She is also a member of the national Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, which recognizes high scholastic achievement during the first year of college and offers leadership and scholarship opportunities.
“It has truly been a blessing to be a part of Southeast and be able to represent this school as a student and soon as an alumna,” she says. “I’m just a small-town girl working my way through college so someday I can change a student’s life like a teacher in my past education changed mine.”
Currently, Kara works in the main office of the Malden campus.
“As a student-worker, I have been able to get involved in many school activities and help with back-to-school kick-off, scholarship banquets and keeping students updated on information about our campus and the main campus in Cape Girardeau,” she says.
Kara previously worked as a tutor at the Malden campus.
“It allowed me to expand my mathematical skills and get more teaching experience. Tutoring is a very rewarding job, and it is very beneficial to my future in education,” she says.
Kara says her passion has always been teaching.
“I have always loved children,” she explains. “I love seeing students light up when they get a concept or finally figure something out. Not only do I want to be a teacher, but also I want to be a role model for students to look up to. I look forward to building relationships and helping students work toward getting their education.”
After graduation, Kara says she plans to find a job close to home and work toward her master’s degree while she and her husband start their family. She describes her favorite moments from Southeast as those when she meets new people; she says she is especially grateful she has been able to receive the full college experience at the Malden campus.
“I feel that Southeast has prepared me to be the best teacher that I can be,” she says. “I have learned to speak in front of large crowds, and I have gained people skills and other skills that I will be able use in and out of the workplace after graduation.”
In her spare time, Kara visits Cape Girardeau to buy coffee at Starbucks, go shopping and eat at Olive Garden. She also reads, takes photos, scrapbooks, makes crafts and volunteers in her community. She says she especially enjoys traveling when the opportunity arises.
“I have not been able to do as much as I would like, but I love visiting historical places,” she says. “I have been to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, and it was by far the best experience that I have had. I plan to do more traveling after graduation.”
Kara encourages future Southeast students, “I’ve learned to never second guess yourself, because almost always, you will get it right the first time. And, try to not stress over the little things; life is too short not to enjoy school.”