When Jocelyn Rauert was 6 years old, her father built a playhouse for his young daughters. Each day after elementary school, she’d turn that toy into a classroom and lead lessons for her siblings.
“I taught my younger sister how to multiply and retaught what my teachers talked about during the school day. I developed a passion for learning and teaching in my playhouse,” the Wood River native said.
Numerous educators positively impacted Rauert over the years, inspiring her to pursue the profession in real life.
“I want to be a similar light for my students one day,” she said.
Rauert graduates summa cum laude next week with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She’ll teach second grade at Meadowlark Elementary in Kearney, the same “amazing” school where she student taught this semester.
What does this moment mean to you?
Graduating this May is a full-circle moment for me to look back on my four years at this university. I am able to reflect on the organizations and clubs I was part of at UNK, as well as my time as a track athlete. Also, I think of the amazing relationships I have formed with so many people. Graduating allows me to recognize the growth I have made as a person during these past four years and it signifies my passion to teach.
How did UNK help prepare you for your future?
UNK set me up for success in more ways than one. The upper-level teaching classes in the College of Education allowed me to practice my teaching skills and classroom management during field experiences at elementary schools in the Kearney Public Schools system. The opportunity to interact with other teachers and schools in Kearney was the best experience. I attended a few resume workshops to solidify my resume as I applied for jobs. The Teacher Scholars Academy also set me up for success by offering educational speakers, volunteer opportunities and a buddy program with the elementary schools in KPS. I have grown tremendously in my career pathway because of UNK and so many amazing people.
What was your most memorable experience at UNK?
One of the most memorable experiences I had at UNK was running for the president and vice president roles for student government with Landon Seibert and our cabinet. The love we have for UNK was enough for us to run for the student body election. I loved how this opportunity was about UNK and continuing to make the university the best place. This experience brought me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to meet so many people.
Who was the most influential person during your undergraduate career?
I will never forget Bev Mathiesen. She is the chancellor’s executive associate. Throughout my two-year involvement in the Chancellor’s Ambassadors organization, I enjoyed getting to know Bev. She assists with commencement and several other events, keeping everything organized and running smoothly. Bev is someone I would consider to be a sunshine person. She radiates kindness, is polite, and truly gets to know each person she encounters. She makes others feel so welcome. Bev is a role model to me and so many others.
What’s your favorite place on campus?
The Gamma Phi Beta house. I feel so welcomed by the group of women who call G Phi their home. It makes my day to see my sisters and spend quality time with them. This house represents so many memories and a legacy of traditions.
How about your favorite class?
My favorite class was a content block taken my junior year in the College of Education. This class consisted of social studies methods and science methods. I enjoyed learning new teaching strategies and creating a binder full of ideas to use in my future classroom. I formed relationships with my professors, Ms. Jelden and Dr. Harshbarger, and feel they have made a lasting impact on my UNK experience.
If you could go back in time and do something differently, what would it be?
I would apply to the undergraduate research program. I always found an interest in completing research, but it never quite worked to fit in my schedule. I think this is an amazing opportunity.
What advice do you have for current and future Lopers?
Be as involved as you can at UNK. Get out of your comfort zone and build relationships with others in your classes, dorm and job. The relationships you build here at UNK will last you a lifetime. Lastly, give 100% in all you do – I promise you’ll never regret it.