Carlee Nelson, an honors graduate and current M.S. in Education (Information Technology) student, is sitting at her desk in the honors office in APSC. Currently serving as the Honors Program Specialist, Nelson works with her advisor Dr. Gavin Keulks in assisting the current honors students as they make their way through the program.
“As a staff member, the students are so friendly. They come in, hang out, and ask me for advice. Just being able to help them out is really fun.”
Though she assists all the undergraduate students for her GA, most of the time Nelson is assisting the lowerclassmen. “Usually the juniors and seniors are pretty self-sufficient. I’m an ed major, so I usually help them while Gavin helps the English majors. I’ll help the freshmen pick the right classes, and tell them which professors to talk to for advice.”
When’s she’s not assisting students, Nelson helps with planning events.
“Every term there is a gathering, usually at the Gentle House. We provide a meal and talk about registration for the next term, upcoming events, and catch up. Usually we get 80-90 students and a handful of professors and family members to attend. We usually try to do a fun event for the students, so this term we are doing a movie night. In addition to the fun events, we plan volunteering events as well. This term the kids are going to be volunteering at the retirement center by Bi-Mart playing kickball and bingo, and next term we’ll be heading to some local elementary schools to have reading nights.”
Nelson’s studies are helping her to prepare for life surrounding the classroom using technology.
“You don’t have to be in the ed world to get the degree. It teaches you a bunch of different skills that you can use in your occupation. But I’m using it to create artifacts that you can use as a teacher. Last term we learned about web 2.0 tools, so that can be anything from Facebook to learning how to use screencasts to podcasts, or recording lectures for students. And this term we are learning about open source tools. There is a bunch of free software out there that is simple like WordPress, or programs that are complicated, like making code. I definitely want to know how to use these tools for myself, but I want to show other teachers how to use these tools effectively.”
Looking back on her years in the honors program, Nelson reflects on how much she got out of the program. “It’s really fun, you start the base level classes with about 20 kids, so you can make friends easily, talk with the professors, and get to know each other really well. I really enjoyed it.”
To learn more about the WOU Honors Program, visit their website.