Grad Profile: Emily Pahlke

Emily Pahlke, from Clackamas, Ore. is currently working and studying at Western at the same time. She will be graduating with a Master of Science in Education degree with a focus in Informational Technology as well as an Instructional Design Certificate. Currently she is working in the Richard Woodcock Education Center, advising undergraduate education students and teaching the occasional course for the Education programs. Pahlke has also been working in leadership for Q-Loop as well, helping students make the best productions they can. We had a conversation with her about her time at WOU, and it’s easy to see how she is such a good fit for campus and our Education programs. 

You’re a transfer student, right? Where did you transfer from?
I did transfer to WOU! For my freshmen year, I attended Lewis and Clark College in Portland before moving South to WOU.

Are you a first-generation student?
I am a first-generation college student although my dad did go back to school my sophomore year. It was really fun to compare my Education coursework with his Business coursework!

Why did you choose WOU?
I chose WOU because of the strong community. Everyone at WOU was so kind and accepting, it made the transfer very easy. Plus there’s no better place in the state to become a teacher!

What do you love most about WOU?
I love the people who make up WOU. From the students to the faculty, everyone works together to make this a positive and supportive community.

What do you love most about the Info Tech program?
Can I say I love everything about the InfoTech program? It sounds cheesy but grad school is so much fun even when it’s difficult. The courses, the content, and the faculty combine to create a program that can flex to the needs and interests of every student. I’m in love; I happily brag about it to anyone who will listen.

Outside of the classroom, what have you been involved in on campus?
I’m actually a pre-education advisor in the Division of Education and Leadership, working to help future teachers reach their goals! Since I am on campus 40 hours a week I get to meet other grad students who I have only interacted with in online classes whenever they stop by campus which has really grown the community in my program. Plus, helping my advisees to reach their goals just really invigorates me in my grad work.

Has there been a class or professor that has been particularly inspiring to you?
Where do I start? Dr. Mary Bucy and Dr. Gregory Zobel have been just phenomenal. If I had an idea, they’d listen. If I had a question, they’d answer. If I was excited about something, they’d let me go running into their office like a mad woman. From day one they encouraged learning through exploration and application. It’s going to make me tear up; I just feel really lucky to have had them as professors.

What will you miss most about college?
Probably the justification for more office supplies.

What are your plans for after graduation?
I plan to continue working for WOU!

What do you know now that you wish you knew your first term in college?
That everything is going to be okay. My first term of college was an emotional train wreck and I recall a family friend sitting me down over coffee and saying “these next couple years are a blip in your life and everything is going to be okay, you don’t need to have it all figured out right now.” It really helped me solidify that even though it all felt like a crisis in the moment, it was not forever.

What is your favorite spot on campus and why?
I really like RWEC 164. It’s just a cozy little spot to hang out.

Did you have any funny mishaps or moments of confusion when you first started at WOU?
Old PE vs New PE. My first term on campus, I walked around NPE for ten minutes before asking someone who kindly pointed me in the right direction… Oops! And then towards the end of my undergrad, I routinely fell asleep in the student lounge in the old ED building… So mortifying!

What’s the most important lesson you learned about yourself while in college?
That I’m resilient and that taking a break is practicing resiliency. No one can go-go-go forever.

What was the biggest struggle both working, going to school, and teaching at WOU? Did you have any secret strategy?
Oh my gosh, my biggest struggle is, and always has been, time management! I have a handful of strategies that I use to try to keep me focused. I carry a journal/planner that I am constantly dumping lists and ideas into, I have a note card system that helps me to prioritize daily tasks, and I’ve been utilizing to help with work flow.

Do you have a favorite part about working for WOU?
The students, staff, and faculty! And the cherry blossoms in the spring.

Do you have any advice for students emerging into the education profession?
Journal. It’s the lamest advise in the world second only to “meditate.” Every night I write one page, just dumping any remnants of my day onto the paper. This moment of self reflection helps me to improve my teaching, my cooking, and my work. It’s actually my favorite part of the day and I never thought I’d be one to journal.

Do you have something unique you would like to share?
Koyotes > Yangs