Hometown: Waukesha, Wisconsin
Teacher preparation program:
University of Minnesota
Anticipated date of graduation:
Kaitie O’Bryan grew up in a family that understood the value of education. “With a dad on the school board and a mom who was a teacher, commitment to education was a family affair and central to my development.” Kaitie graduated with a double major in mathematics and studio art from Gustavus Adolphus College, where she volunteered with Study Buddies and enjoyed tutoring students at the campus Writing Center.
Upon graduation, Kaitie taught English in Hong Kong with Summerbridge, a non-profit organization that provides tuition-free English education to underprivileged students. While there, she served as head of the art department and designed and taught a marketing and advertising class. Knowing that, “as with math, learning a language requires a good amount of confidence,” Kaitie designed interactive activities to help her students gain confidence in speaking English. “The same students who were unable or unwilling to speak on the first day were working in teams developing and presenting their own ‘Summerbridge brand’ by the end of the summer.”
Kaitie believes that “the best way to contribute to a student's success is to help him or her develop life-long collaborative problem solving skills and critical thinking skills.” She plans to stay in the Midwest and hopes to teach in a high school with a large immigrant population. A former business analyst at a major retailer, Kaitie loves creating art, traveling and finding new adventures.