Concordia St. Paul News

November 14, 2018

International Student Spotlight: Jamesetta Kollie

CSP student Jamesetta Kollie is pursuing her degree in secondary education with an emphasis in social studies. Originally from Liberia, Kollie is Concordia’s first international student to pursue an education degree. She shared her thoughts about what drew her to Concordia, her next steps as she approaches graduation next spring, and her advice to students who want to follow a similar path.

CSP student Jamesetta Kollie

Jamesetta Kollie is CSP’s first international student to pursue an education degree.

Q: What drew you to Concordia?

A: The first thing was the religious point of view – the Lutheran Missouri Synod (LCMS). My dad is a pastor. Diversity: having people you can relate to creates a better academic experience because people perform better when they have people they connect with. Also, the community: it’s a really small campus you can get around easily. From the dorm room to the classroom is really close!

Q: Tell us about a favorite moment from your time at CSP thus far.

A: My favorites are the classes I take and the work that I do at the International Student Services (ISS) office. It’s good getting to know the ISS students coming in. They all face the same challenges you faced before. So it’s been really interesting and I’ve made good friends. My favorite class has been about inclusive classrooms and my class for special needs students. Getting to know the kids in the class, their needs, wants, how to make them comfortable – that has been my favorite so far.

Q: Concordia’s campus is located in an urban, diverse location. In what ways are these campus attributes preparing you for your career?

A: I get to try working in different kinds of schools before I get to decide what school I want to be a part of. Even though I’m doing public schools, I’ve tried private schools and Christian private schools to make sure it’s what I want to do. It’s good to get a wide variety of things to get to know other things I might see when I get out there versus being in a rural area.

Q: Tell us about your experience with class size at Concordia. Do you think it has impacted your learning in any way?

A: I went to private school and throughout it has been small class sizes. I’m not used to big classes so it’s continued with small class sizes [at Concordia.] It’s good because it helps you to know everyone in the class. It’s easy for the teacher to get to you. If you have a question or a problem, you can talk to the professor easily and not have to set an appointment. All of my professors know me by name – they see me in the hallway and they remember my name outside of class.

Q: If you could choose one thing that could sum up what you value most about Concordia, what would it be?

A: I have two! One is the Christian capacity and the church work that happens here. They try to incorporate the beliefs into everything they do here, and as a Lutheran person, it helps me keep up with my faith and with God. Next is the diversity. You get to see people of different cultures in every class you go to. It’s amazing.

Q: What are your next steps as you approach graduation in the spring?

A: Student teaching at Highland Park on Snelling. My student teaching will be halftime at Highland Park and halftime at Higher Ground Academy next to CSP. I’m doing 7th grade right now and next, I will do grades 5-12. Before going to the middle school level, I was more of a high school person because I identified with them more. But now I connect with middle schoolers after working with them. I’m trying to see where I belong.

Q: Do you feel prepared for your next steps?

A: I feel prepared because of my professors and their support. If I have a problem, I go to my professors and they can walk me through the process like connecting something from our classroom to the field.

Q: If you could give advice to a student who wants to pursue a similar career path as you, what would it be?

A: I would tell them that I’m the first international education student that CSP has had. There might be difficulties but it is worth it! Once you know the professors, they will help you and it will get easier. You don’t have to freak out – it will come with a natural flow. Social studies teachers are needed. Go for it! Hear the kids’ points of view. It means a lot to hear them say that it’s important and makes a difference in my life.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share at this time?

A: I’m really thankful for my experience at CSP. I love it and I wish I could continue here. If I could do it all over again, I would do it right here.

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