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Maddie Kohlbeck
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Maddie Kohlbeck

Graduation year: 2018

Major: Elementary education (with K-12 Reading Teacher Endorsement)

Activities: Phi Rho sorority

Internship: I student-taught this past fall in a first-grade classroom at Hamilton Elementary School in Moline, Ill.

Post-grad plans: Teach first, second or third grade

Why Augustana?

I knew Augustana was the place for me because during my overnight on campus, I could imagine myself spending the next four years of my life at Augie. The beauty of the campus helped, too.

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

Actually, no. I imagined I would still be playing lacrosse. I also came to campus wanting to major in math. It wasn’t until the middle of freshman year that I decided I might not want to play lacrosse anymore, and that I wanted to be an elementary school teacher.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

A lot of people have helped me get to where I am now. My parents—they have supported me endlessly by constantly being a phone call away, and sliding me an extra 20 dollars whenever I may need it. My friends in Phi Rho have helped me become a strong, independent person by encouraging me to try new things and step out of my comfort zone. Finally, the education department has helped me tremendously with my upcoming graduation, specifically Randall Hengst and Danielle Beliveau-Derion. The reading endorsement program has given me so much enrichment towards being a better teacher, including opportunities that some graduate students don’t have.

Peak experience?

I have had so many amazing experiences at Augie…it’s very hard to pick one. I think that my peak experience was this past fall. Four other senior Augie elementary ed majors, an alumna and I presented posters at the Illinois Reading Council Conference in Peoria. It was super cool to share our research with current teachers and professionals, especially knowing that they have had their own classrooms for years and we were just student teachers. That was a weekend I will never forget.

What surprised you?

I’ve learned that I can accomplish way more in a day than I thought I could. I’ve learned about the beauty of the sunrise when you wake up to study and it’s still dark out. I’ve learned that your true friends will stay your true friends no matter how far away they are. Most of all, I’ve learned that if you work hard and time-manage, you can do it all.

How did you use Augie Choice?

I used my Augie Choice to cover expenses while I was student teaching. It was kind of like getting paid to teach.

What will you miss the most?

I will miss the college lifestyle the most. I will miss not being able to wear PJs to the cafeteria for breakfast, or staying up til 2 a.m. to go to Taco Bell just because. I will miss the random snowfights in the Quad on a winter night and the rainstorms that drench everyone in their path from the dorms to the academic buildings. I’m going to miss everything about this experience, and I can’t believe it’s almost over.

Advice for the Class of 2022?

Try as many new things as you can. At Augie, most of it’s free so take advantage!

“I have had the pleasure of being Maddie’s clinical supervisor and instructor for several Elementary Literacy Methods courses and Reading Teacher Endorsement courses. In class and in the field, I have observed her passion for teaching literacy as well as her potential as a teacher. She is always thinking deeply about situations she encounters in the field and seeing challenges as opportunities for growth. It has been a pleasure to be a part of her Augie journey.”

– Dr. Danielle Beliveau-Derion, assistant professor, education