When recent graduate Kurron Carmichael discusses his goals, you can see the joy in his smile and hear the wholeheartedness in his voice. “My goal for my career is to change the world. I know a lot of people say this is what they want to do, but not many of them have the opportunity that I have to do so every single day,” said Carmichael, a Louisville native who studied middle school education and mathematics at Western Kentucky University. “Being an educator in today’s society is just as important as being a parent, so I truly have a chance to accomplish my goal.”
Carmichael’s other goal is to be the best teacher that he can be for his students and for himself. “For me it has been a goal for a while to be an educator, as a young African American male that did not grow up in an environment built for success, I have a story to tell. I can reach students through my story, and show them that I truly care for them and their well-being.”
At WKU, staff members are aware that everyone’s route to teaching is different. Because of this, the Office of Teacher Services assists with field experience, student teaching, teacher certification, minority recruitment and retention, advising, alternative routes to the teacher certification program, and TEACH grants. Carmichael, like many of WKU’s minority students, participates in programs to assist with recruiting minority educators.
“My experience at WKU has had its ups and downs. From not having the grades to stay in school after two semesters, to persevering through the struggles, and to now graduating and pursuing my career. Overall, my experience has been worth it, and I would not change anything about my time at WKU, not even graduating sooner. I have had tremendous help from the African American leaders on campus by just keeping me focused, confident, and ready to battle every day for my education. I have also received so much help from my program, specifically Karen Long.” Long is a coordinator for SKyTeach, a mathematics and science teacher education program at WKU.
“A big resource for me were the professors I had in my time at WKU. One professor sticks out above the rest in a great way, Natasha Gerstenschlager (Dr. G). I do not know where I would be without these people, but one thing is for sure, I would not be where I am today.” Dr. Natasha Gerstenschlager is an assistant professor of mathematics.
To those considering an education at WKU, Carmichael says, “You have a great opportunity to become someone special. This campus is special; come get involved and love every minute of your time on the hill as I did.