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Haylee O'Donnell
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Haylee O'Donnell

Graduation year: 2017

Major: Elementary education

Activities: Chi Alpha Pi sorority, Epsilon Sigma Alpha service sorority

Internship: I was a student teacher in a first-grade classroom at Paul Norton Elementary School in Bettendorf, Iowa.

Post-grad plans: I am currently applying for teaching positions and hope to have a classroom of my own this fall.

Why Augustana?

I chose to attend Augustana because of the small class sizes and the reputation of the education department.

Are you where you thought you’d be when you first came to campus?

I am not where I thought I would be. The experiences I have had at Augustana have made me stronger and more confident in myself as this next stage in my life begins.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

The professors in the education department and my classmates have provided me with a support system and resources to help me learn to be the best teacher I can be.

A peak experience?

A peak experience was definitely student teaching. I was in a first-grade classroom in Bettendorf and had the most amazing cooperating teacher to learn from. I was able to form relationships with all of my students and see the progress that I helped them make.

What surprised you?

I learned that I am much stronger than I thought. I have been faced with many obstacles that seemed daunting at the time, but I was able to overcome each obstacle with the love and support of my family, friends and professors.

How did you use your Augie Choice?

I used my Augie Choice to visit the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind. It was an experience that I could not have gotten anywhere else. The students, teachers and staff members at the school are truly inspiring.

What will you miss the most?

Out of everything, I will miss the education department the most. It has become like a second home to me, and I would not be the teacher I am today without the support and guidance of the department.

Advice for the Class of 2021?

Ask questions and go to office hours. Your professors and advisor(s) are there to help you, and they are an invaluable resource. Also know that it is okay to not know things; if you knew everything, you would not have to go to college.

“It’s been a wonderful three years working with Haylee. In addition to working with her in advising and classes, I worked with her during her junior year in the Number Sense Project and supervised her student teaching this year. Haylee will be a wonderful teacher. I look forward to hearing all about the adventure! It has been obvious that Haylee is conscientious about her work. But, I truly appreciated the patient and compassionate way she engaged with her first-grade students this year. Thank you, Haylee, for coming to Augie!”

– Dr. H. Randall Hengst, professor and chair, education