Master of Reading Science graduate Katie Specker ’17 answers some questions on her MSJ experience, where she credits the knowledgeable faculty, student organizations, and a flexible online program that helped her achieve her career goals.

graduate standing next to president h. james williams

What is your specific major(s) and/or minor?

Bachelor of Arts in Inclusive Early Childhood Education, May, 2014

-Graduated Magna Cum Laude,

-Dean's Lists 2010-2014

Master of Science in Reading Science and Literacy with a Dyslexia Certificate

Graduated in May, 2017

Why did you choose the Mount?

The Mount is known for having a great education program and I was able to play soccer. 

What inspired you to pursue your major(s)?

I have always wanted to be a teacher since I was little. I had many incredible teachers and professors who made learning fun, engaging, and memorable. 

Was there a professor/instructor that helped your development as a person?

The Mount's education professors were all incredible! Dr. Murdoch, Dr. Sparks, Dr. Corbo and Dr. Saylor were instrumental parts of what makes the education department so successful. Their knowledge, passion, and creativity helped us to become the best teachers. I truly didn't realize how well prepared I was until I was in the field working with other teachers. They have created an education program that is more than a small, liberal arts university, it is global. While I was completing my Master's degree, I worked with students in my cohort that were all across the world. This brought a new aspect to learning and teaching. 

Did you co-op/student teach? If so, where? 

I completed my student teaching with Mrs. Patty Bosse in kindergarten at St. Dominic. I learned so much from her and still use some of her techniques in my classroom today! 

What was your involvement like at the Mount? Extracurricular activities, major projects, etc. that you would like to share.

I played soccer all four years of undergrad. I was a part of the Student Government Association as a Senator & Committee Chair of Academics/ Education. While I was a part of SGA, we were working on the 2020 project that became the Field House. It was great to see the project come to fruition and be a part of that process in 2014. I went on a Habitat for Humanity trip to the South Suburbs of Chicago renovating homes for low income families. Lastly,  I was a peer Tutor in Phonics, History of Education, and Psychology for Mount St. Joseph University.

Have there been any pivotal points during your college career or in your career? Awards, nominations, etc.

While I was at the Mount for undergrad, I received the 2014 Outstanding Inclusive Early Childhood Education Student Teacher Award. This was a pivotal point in my career to be chosen as the only person for this award.  It gave me the confidence in myself and my education that I needed to begin my teaching career.  To know that my professors, whom I admire, chose me is such an honor. 

The other awards I received were the Lion Award from the soccer program.  I was a part of Kappa Gamma Pi- top ten percent of the 2014 graduating class from the College of Mount St. Joseph. Awarded for outstanding scholastic achievement, leadership, and service.  I was also a part of Kappa Delta Pi- International Education Society 2012-2014.  I was the Vice President for Alpha Chi- top ten percent of juniors and seniors at College of Mount Saint Joseph 2013. Lastly, I was a part of Chi Alpha Sigma- National College Athlete Honor Society. 

How would you rate your educational experience at the Mount, and how was it a strong fit for you?

My experience at the Mount was a 10/10. I had professors that I still speak with about how to best solve teaching challenges. I have created lifelong friendships along the way. It was great to be close to home and  be with my family. I was able to complete my Master's degree online so that I could continue to teach during the day. I am extremely blessed to have received the education that I did. I always tell people to not overlook the Mount when looking at the best place to go for college. 

Interested in pursuing an Education degree at the Mount? Visit the School of Education page to learn more.