Alumni Success Stories

Alicia Weaver


What year (years) did you graduate and which program(s) did you complete?
I graduated in December 2008 and completed the Early Childhood Education program.

What were some of your biggest challenges after graduating that shaped your career?
I had a difficult time finding a position once I graduated. I subbed for a year, but I had a strong desire to have a classroom of my own. I decided to take a teaching job in Bush, Alaska. I live in a remote community where our biggest mode of transportation is a small plane. Pushing myself and trying something new has allowed me to teach here for the past two years. It truly has helped me both personally and professionally expand my teaching and try new things.

What has been your most significant professional accomplishment since graduating?
Currently, I am working towards my master’s degree in Special Education at the U
niversity of Alaska SouthEast. It is an online program, so I am able to take my classes at night. My biggest accomplishment has been getting to know the culture and community that I live in. One of the things I like about Alaska is that you never know what to expect. There are no shopping malls or restaurants. The closest village is a few miles away and to get there I must board aplane, snow machine, or boat. The culture is very interesting and I have learned about hunting and fishing. The community has been very inviting and welcoming. Since the community is remote, it is important to learn about the resources the land and community has to offer.

Are you currently employed, and if so, where?
I work in a Yupik village of 300 in rural Alaska. I am a 3rd and 4th grade teacher in the Lower Kuskokwim School District. I came across the job in Alaska through the Kent State Teacher Interview Day. I begin to find out information and become very interested in the position. I took the leap and decided come here to teach.

Heather Hutmacher


What year did you graduate and which program did you complete?
I graduated in December of 2010 and I received my bachelor's of science degree in early childhood education. 

Are you currently employed, and if so, where?
I am employed as a Year 1 primary school teacher at Gladstone Primary School in Auckland, New Zealand.

What were some of your biggest challenges after graduating that shaped your career?
Since graduating, I have found I have had many challenges in the world of education.  The first would be the lack of jobs available to teachers in the Midwest, which is one of the reasons I chose to relocate to New Zealand.  When I moved here over a year ago, there were a plethora of teaching positions available, so it was not very difficult to find a job. 

While teaching in a foreign country has been such an amazing experience, and I have no regrets deciding to move here, it creates another challenge of living away from my friends and family.  As much as I LOVE living in New Zealand, I find that I do really miss the comfort of home. Fortunately, I have found a solid personal support group, as well as within the teaching staff at Gladstone, but nothing can replace home.

Something else I find challenging is being able to accept that I will never finish everything I would like to finish in planning and organizing my classroom.  As a primary school teacher, there will ALWAYS be something that needs to be done.  Another teacher has taught me to divide my work into three categories, "Must get done," "Eventually needs to be done," and "It would be nice."  This way of organizing my many tasks has been a big part in helping me get through my first year of teaching.

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