Featured Grad: Ainslee Christensen ’18, ’19E
Major (UG): Elementary and Special Education
Graduate Program: Master of Curriculum & Instruction
Hometown: Omaha, NE
Activities involved in at Doane (as undergrad): Doane Choir, Student Education Association (SEA), Doane’s Education Association for the Education of Young Children (DAEYC), Hansen Leadership Program
Current position: Special Education Teacher at Golden Hills Elementary School in Papillion LaVista Community Schools
You completed your undergraduate degree from Doane in May 2018 and then began classes for your master’s program one month later. What was your primary motivation to continue your education?
I knew I wanted my master's degree at some point in my career. After completing my undergraduate degree, I did not know how much I was going to miss being in the classroom as a student and because Doane makes it so convenient for undergraduate education majors to continue on with their master's, I took advantage of the opportunity.
Could you see yourself obtaining any more degrees in the future?
I would love to go back to obtain an endorsement in reading and writing in a couple of years.
What was the most impactful experience you had at Doane as an undergrad?
Being apart of the Hansen Leadership program was the best decision I made as an undergraduate. This experience gave me the opportunity to further my understanding of leadership and how it perfectly fits in with my passion for teaching. It showed me the importance of instilling leadership in my students at a young age and how they need to advocate for themselves and what they need to be the best learners they can be.
What did you enjoy about the C&I program the most?
I enjoyed the opportunity to have some of the same professors I had the privilege of learning from at the undergraduate level. It allowed me to have a graduate level experience in a low stakes environment and one I was already comfortable in. This gave me the chance to get so much more out of these graduate classes because I did not have to worry about getting to know the professor and on top of completing the course.
If you had to single one out, was the most beneficial class you’ve taken at Doane (undergraduate or graduate program)?
Woah. This one took some thinking. I would have to say the combination of my Research Methods Classes. These classes allowed me to further my understanding of co-teaching and collaboration and uncover the limitations of the two. These are the classes that have given me the best chance of making a bigger difference in my district and in education, for the sake of teachers and ultimately our students.
Why do you feel so strongly about Doane that you wanted to return to earn another degree from the university?
I loved Doane the first time I was a student and I knew I wasn't ready to leave. Doane will always have a special place in my heart and I can't imagine learning anywhere else.
What do you enjoy about your current job the most?
My kiddos. I had no idea how much I could love my students. They have stolen my heart and ran with it. I would do anything for my kids and they make me smile every day.
What are your future aspirations professionally?
At this point in my career, I want to teach. I would love to teach until the day I die. It makes my life so full.
Because of weather and I-80 being closed, you were, unfortunately, unable to make it to Crete for the Commencement ceremony, but it sounds like you received a surprise from your students to make up for missing the ceremony the following day? How special was that?
Yes! My fellow staff members and students made my day by giving me a hallway graduation ceremony. They made me a construction paper graduation cap and played the graduation song as I walked down the hallway, through cheering students and co-workers. It was so special and truly uncovered the reason why the universe kept me from making it to the actual graduation on Sunday. It means so much to me to be apart of the Golden Hills family and this is a clear example of what family does for family.
WOWT (Channel 6 in Omaha) featured Ainslee's story in their newscast on Tuesday, December 17. You can view the story here.