Kaela Wehrman is a Secondary Education Language Arts major from Albany, Ore. As a 2020 graduate, we interviewed Wehrman on her most memorable communities and moments from WOU.
Why did you choose WOU?
I chose WOU because from the first moment I stepped on campus to tour, I could feel the sense of a tight knit community. The feel of the campus was a really important factor for me, too; it was the perfect size, in my opinion. The campus was big enough to offer opportunities and a place for anyone, but small enough that I didn’t feel like I would be lost in the crowd. I didn’t want to move too far from home for school, so having an option near home that I felt welcomed at was exactly what WOU provided for me.
What has been your most memorable class?
I have taken a few classes that have stayed with me during my time at WOU, especially every class I took during my time in the Education Licensure program. My favorite class in the ED program was my Language Arts Pedagogy class with Dr. Marie LeJuene. Reaching the point in my college career where I was able to take a class that directly applied to what I’ll be doing in my future profession felt like everything was falling into place; I had never been more excited to attend a class! Also, being surrounded by my wonderful cohort members and building those relationships is something I’ll never forget.
Prior to being in the program, I took WR 440, which was all about how to teach writing. What made this class so memorable was Dr. Cornelia Paraskevas–she took the time to interact with and support every single student in the classroom and provided a welcoming and positive learning environment for all of us. She was a great role model for how I’d like to be as a future teacher!
What have some of your extracurriculars been? How did those impact your time on campus?
The moment on campus that I felt I had truly found my place at WOU occurred when I was hired to work at the Writing Center. It is rare to work in a place where each and every employee arrives to work with a smile on their face and a genuine enthusiasm for what they do. The full time staff at the Writing Center have cultivated such a positive and welcoming atmosphere that it quickly became my safe place on campus to go. I will always remember and cherish my time as an employee at the Writing Center, and I highly recommend checking [it out] on campus as a place to find encouragement and support, both school and life related!
Do you have any advice for current and prospective students?
My biggest piece of advice for current or prospective students is to not be afraid to put yourself out there and explore what the campus has to offer you! I truly believe that there is a group on campus for each and every person. My only regret is not attending more campus events, and finding my “place” on campus sooner, because then I would have even more memories on campus [than] I already do!
Who stands out from your time here?
I have met many amazing people during my time at WOU, but there are some who will always stand out. During my freshman year, I met my friend Madelyn who lived in the same dorm complex as me. She quickly became one of my closest friends. When I got married in 2017, Madelyn and my two dorm roommates, Desiree and Bryanna, were all bridesmaids in my wedding! Dr. Lejuene, Dr. Paraskevas, Dr. Landon-Hayes, Dr. Schmidt, and Dr. Andrews are all professors who made a huge impact on me as a student, and I will never forget them when I think of my time at WOU. Lastly, every single person I interacted with during my time working at the Writing Center, and my fellow Language Arts cohort members are people I will always think of with a smile on my face.
What do you love most about the program you completed?
It’s hard to pick something that I love most about the major I completed, but when I really think of my experience, I always come back to the environment and the people. The professors and leaders of the education department on campus are exceptional, and they have truly built a program which I feel honored to have been a part of. As a future teacher, the way they structure the program, their classes, and the overall environment demonstrated a great example of the culture that I want to set for my future classroom.
What has been your biggest achievement, success or accomplishment in college?
My biggest achievement in college is that I managed to finish school after I had my son. It wasn’t easy at all to continue going to school with an infant at home while also working, and there were times I thought I wasn’t going to be able to do it. But thanks to the support of my husband, my family, and the previously mentioned faculty on campus who offered flexibility and support when I needed it most, I was able to continue pursuing my degree and my future. My son is now three and will get to watch me achieve my dream of graduating college as a first generation student.
What are your plans for after graduation?
My plans for after graduation include enjoying some quality time with my family this summer. Then I hope to find a job working with either middle or high school age students in a language arts classroom.