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Kate Strein ’08 — Taking the Classroom Global

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Kate Strein ’08 serves as an eighth grade English Language Arts teacher at Jupiter Middle School in southern Florida, but her true passion is taking education beyond the classroom. Kate was chosen as a Fulbright Scholar for the Teachers of Global Classrooms program in 2019. While the COVID-19 pandemic delayed some of Kate’s plans, this summer she will travel to Peru to complete the international portion of the program.

“I have a master’s degree with a focus on curriculum and instruction from the American College of Education that I earned in 2015,” Kate said. “While I was applying and interviewing for doctoral programs, I was chosen as a Fulbright Scholar for the Teachers of Global Classrooms program in 2019. I chose Fulbright over a Ph.D. for financial reasons, and it was the best choice. This summer, I will complete the program with the international field experience in Peru, where I will study if/how the Peruvian school system accommodates for at-risk and underprivileged students, including indigenous students and those with mental and physical disabilities.”

As a Fulbright Scholar, Kate also had the opportunity to complete a rigorous course focused on best practices in global education and attend professional development workshops. Drawing from these experiences, participants create a global education guide that serves as a resource in their local community to share the skills, experiences and resources they have developed throughout the program. This leg in Kate’s journey is part of her ongoing commitment to lifelong learning, and she’s eagerly seized chances to explore education around the world.

“I am dedicated to lifelong learning, so I’m always looking for opportunities to perfect my craft. Every summer, I voluntarily travel and attend professional development opportunities, such as Kagan Cooperative Learning and Global Education Symposiums. These professional development opportunities allow me to continue to grow and adapt to the changing environment of public education and provide the highest quality of education and support to my students,” Kate said.

In addition to her upcoming trip to Peru, Kate lived and taught in Taiwan in 2008-2009, and she partnered with Helping Hands 4 Haiti over eight summers, volunteering in orphanages, schools and a malnutrition clinic. Kate’s dedication to doing good and cultural awareness are values that were instilled in her at Olivet College. She was an English major and a health minor with a focus on elementary education, and she was also a member of the cheer team and a manager for the wrestling team.

“Olivet reinforced the character traits of respect and responsibility, which are core platforms I’ve dedicated my adult life to. Having this focus during the college ages was so vital to my segue into adulthood, because I was held accountable for putting others first rather than continuing the adolescent mindset on self,” Kate said. “This was my first introduction to character education and social emotional learning, which are big buzz words in education right now. OC helped lay that foundation that I have continued into my classroom and curriculum.”

In addition to the life lessons learned at Olivet College, Kate’s adviser, Kirk Hendershott-Kraetzer, Ph.D., professor of humanities, helped her develop strong writing skills and fostered her passion for teaching and teaching writing.

“I felt extremely supported at OC by professors and other staff. It’s the individual attention and meaningful relationships that attracted me and kept me at OC. Dr. Kirk Hendershott-Kraetzer helped me elevate my learning by always supporting my progress but giving me feedback and guidance on how to grow as a student and future educator,” Kate said.

As Kate prepares to travel to Peru this summer, she’s also looking ahead to innovate global education in her Florida classroom and the larger school district. Regardless of where — physically or metaphorically — Kate’s career takes her, she knows global education will remain her passion.

“I am the global education leader at my school and have been recommended for a district position that will be created in the near future. I would like to continue growing as a global educator and eventually be a school-based or district trainer to bring the competencies of global education into classrooms across the district and state. I’m also a founding member of the Florida Global Educators Network, a group of teachers and professors who provide free training and conferences to train and equip public school teachers with strategies and resources for infusing global education into their curriculum,” Kate said. “Whenever I’m ready to leave the classroom, I plan on either writing a book on engaging teaching strategies and global education or working for a third-party company to train teachers on engaging teaching and learning strategies.”

Learn more about Olivet College by contacting the Office of Admission at 800-456-7189 or admissions@olivetcollege.edu. For students who are interested in becoming a teacher, like Kate, Olivet College offers the Teaching Pathway, a unique program that coaches and mentors students to use an alternate route to teacher certification as defined by the State of Michigan to achieve their dream of becoming a teacher.

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