Keep Working Hard

Wow! I can’t believe I haven’t posted since March 24… sorry about that!

Anyway, I have to explain why — It’s actually pretty cool. It’s a lesson in sticking through the tough times and continuing to work toward your goals. I’ve been, and it’s finally paying off in a big way. Let me explain…

I got an internship! It’s not publishing related, but I’m okay with that, because it’s educational-technology-related! I’ll be interning this summer (read: starting now) at a company that coaches schools through the implementation of their own online learning programs! How cool is that?

The president of the company initially launched his model at a school in my area a few years ago, and it won an international award from iNACOL (International Association for Online Learning). INTERNATIONAL!

Now he travels all around talking about best practices in online education and helps school districts plan, design, and launch their own online programs for public school students. I’m so excited to start!

In other news, I’ve also become a more frequent contributor to the newspaper I’ve been freelancing for — also cool. I still work at my college’s library.

And finally, I got a long term sub position (which ends next week, so expect more activity then!) to add to my resume as well! Talk about a busy time!

It’s just insane how life works sometimes. This time last year, I was about to graduate from college, my father was facing open heart surgery at 48, and I was really quite depressed. I had nothing except my summer job that I’d been working since freshman year (which I will not be going back to this summer, due to the internship!) and I was getting turned down for full time work left and right.

Now I feel like my options are pretty limitless. By that I mean that I have opportunities in all three of my career fields of choice — all that’s left is to pick one and make it happen!

So to anyone out there who’s feeling a little less than optimistic about your situation at the present moment, just hang in there. Good things really do come to those who WORK for them!

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Women’s History Month: Margaret Fuller and Barbara Means

March is Women’s History Month! I’m picking some influential women to profile here on my blog. Each woman has a connection to my life at the present – be it through careers, interests, or inspiration. This time, I’m profiling Margaret Fuller, and Barbara Means. Keep reading to find out why!

#1. Margaret Fuller – Transcendentalist, Journalist, Writer

Margaret Fuller Image

Margaret Fuller

I first learned of Margaret Fuller in college in an American Literature course, and I could not believe I’d never heard of her prior to that class. Margaret Fuller (a.k.a. Sarah Margaret Fuller) was an American writer back in the 1800s who held a host of important jobs that were unheard of for women in her time. She was a teacher, a writer, a journalist, and she also advocated hardcore for women’s rights. She held meetings for women to gather and talk – not gossip, but talk about important topics, as a way to make up for the fact that women were generally not allowed to attend college during her time.

She is also one of the founders of the Transcendentalist movement, though she doesn’t get as much credit as Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, etc. Whenever you learn about the Transcendentalists in high school, you only hear about the men, but Fuller joined the boys’ club and became the first editor of The Dial, the Transcendentalists’ magazine. She also worked for the New York Tribune and went to Europe as their first female correspondent.

Sadly, she died in a shipwreck just off Fire Island in New York (thanks Wikipedia, for this fact!) and her body was never recovered.

I love Margaret Fuller because she has a similar background to me. I am a teacher and a journalist, and I like to think that I stick up for women’s rights when I can. Also, the Transcendentalist movement is my favorite American literary time period. Fuller was breaking barriers that most women didn’t even realize existed at the time. That leads me to my next woman inspiration…

#2. Barbara Means – Educational Psychologist who focuses on how technology can improve education

Barbara Means

Barbara Means

Barbara Means is one of the major players in educational technology. She came up with some of the earliest widely-accepted theories that helped researchers talk about educational technology, and still contributes hugely to the field today. She’s written tons of books and articles about how technology can improve education at all levels, and she’s not even a Millennial.

Right now, she serves at the Director for the Center for Technology in Learning for SRI International, a research and development company. Currently she’s working on a project in conjunction with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Means is on my list for a variety of reasons. First of all, she’s a major player in technology, a field notorious for its lack of women involvement (though that landscape is starting to change!). Secondly, she’s all about research for education, which is where my major interest also lies. Lastly, she’s an older person (with all due respect, Barbara!) who embraces technology and believes it has a place in education. U.S. education has not yet fully embraced the idea that technology can transform education, largely because the people who are currently teaching and/or making the laws about education aren’t of the Millennial Generation. If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I’m currently studying to be an instructional technologist, and that’s a job that exists solely because of research that Means has contributed to. So thank you, Barbara, for this career I can be passionate about and also break down some barriers for women in the process!

That’s all for this week! To see who I profiled last week, click here! And consider taking some time out of your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations to remember your own female inspirations this weekend! Feel free to link to your own posts in the comments!

Happy International Women’s Day!

March is Women’s History Month, and today (the 8th) is actually International Women’s Day. How cool is that?

I’ve been super busy all week, getting ALL my work out of the way and dealing with four jobs and grad school — but today is Friday and my schedule has finally eased up, so what better way to celebrate the fact that I didn’t die from stress (or all the commuting I did this week) than to celebrate some amazing women I’ve looked up to in my life? After all, part of the reason I work so much is because I’d like to join their ranks one day!

Each week throughout this month I’m going to share with you all some women who’ve inspired me throughout my 22 years on this planet! I encourage you to share yours too!

So for this week, I’m going to introduce you to two women you might know already, but whose careers are impacting my life right at this moment.

Sonya Richards-Ross

When I was in high school, I was on the track and field team and it was the absolute best part of my high school experience. I would go to school even if I felt ill just so I could go to track practice each day and hang out with my friends. I also happened to have an aptitude for middle distance running, so my events were the 400 meter dash (one full lap sprint on a regulation track) and the 800 meter run (two full laps). Really, I think I was just the only athlete who wouldn’t give my coaches a hard time about my event lineup, but I developed into a competitive mid-distance runner.

Being the impressionable and track-obsessed young high school athlete that I was, when I watched Sonya Richards kicking butt in the 400m at the NCAAs for the Longhorns, I was hooked. She was awesome, she was the best 400 runner in the NCAA! I was in awe of her times, and she was a great sport. You’d never see her acting obnoxious like some atheltes do when they win (okay, she did have her moment in the spotlight at the Olympics, but COME ON, it’s the Olympics!), and she was always graceful in post-race interviews. She became my role model on the track, and I her advice for workouts and competitions always echoed in my head during practice.

I followed her progress throughout her college career. She was my inspiration to work at the 400, which was a race that most (read: all) of my teammates absolutely hated (something about the idea of a full out sprint for anything more than half a lap??). I also had the honor of anchoring the mile relay (four runners, one lap each) and to be a contributing member to the two mile relay (four runners, two laps each).

Now Sonya Richards-Ross is not onnly married, but also an Olympic Champion, and I now coach high school track athletes. Things have worked out nicely for both of us!

Erin Andrews

I know Erin Andrews is a sort of polarizing choice, because many people think she only works on ESPN because she’s an attractive blonde woman and men mainly watch sports, but she is a fantastic reporter and that stereotype is just one of many she  has overcome as a woman in journalism today.

Most people accept that men and women are pretty much equal nowadays (despite data that shows women’s salaries still don’t stack up to men’s, but that’s a rant for another day), but I have to say from experience as a journalist myself that there are inherent setbacks of being a young professional woman — things that I never would have believed would happen to me back when I was in high school.

When I reported in college, I was assigned to cover fraternity and soririty news for a semester. What a hellish experience! Fraternity men said things to me (and things about me that eventually got back to me) that were disrespectful and disgusting. Even today as a freelancer working with other established professionals, I still fight the stereotype that I’m just a young, dumb blonde girl. People have refused to answer my questions and yelled at me at meetings, while men have asked much more scathing questions and reported much more biased and one-sided stories than I could dream of writing. People (mostly men) who attend these meetings question my ability constantly (“Didja get all that, missy?”). I get way more frustrated about it than I should, but I always think back to Erin Andrews’ horror story and tell myself that it could be much worse.

If you were of news-consuming age a few years ago, you’ve heard the story. Erin Andrews was stalked and filmed undressing in her hotel room by a peeping tom, and the video, of course, hit the internet. People actually thought she did it for publicity, because of course, women know that the best way to get people to notice them in their careers is NOT  to work hard and be dedicated to your craft, but to put their bodies on display! (Note my sarcasm) Her stalker was jailed for two years (woopee!) and has since been released. The videos are still online — she can’t get them removed unless she buys the copywright to the original. It’s still the first thing that pops up in Google when you type her name!

But she didn’t quit. She continued reporting for ESPN on national television for the world to see. I can’t say that I would have had the guts to do that.

 

That’s all for me this week. Please feel free to share your own female inspirations and link your posts in the comments!

WHOA. Things have been happening…

Hello! I apologize for going off the map there for a while. I’ve taken some time to really focus on my career path, and things have been happening!

I am now working a job as a multimedia designer at my new college while also completing my master’s in instructional technology and design. I’m a substitute teacher, and, perhaps most excitingly…

I’M A FREELANCE WRITER. As in, getting PAID to WRITE.

This probably isn’t very exciting for the general public, but it’s a huge success for me. It’s definitely not the path I had imagined for myself when I was doing my undergrad at Penn State, but I’m so happy to be getting work published professionally, even if it is reporting. Everyone has to start somewhere!

I don’t hate being a reporter, but my true writing “passion” is creative. I’m hoping that freelancing can be a stepping stone into a full time job with my paper or at a magazine of some type. That’s not for a LONG time, however.

So, being a teacher, I’m going to make this a “teachable moment” for anyone stopping by to read this. KEEP trying and DO NOT give up! And do whatever you can to get your name out there to as many people as possible. I’ve already had at least three people ask me for my business card while on a freelancing assignment.

Lastly, to anyone still in college who’s facing a choice about what path to take… do as much as you can WITHOUT spreading yourself too thin. I majored in education, but I also worked at my college paper despite not being a communications major. I was also really interested in graphic design, so my electives were all in the vein.

I was really lucky to be able to pursue so many interests, and I am extremely lucky to still be able to do all the things I love now. It might not be the typical full time day-to-day job, but hey! Variety is the spice of life, right?
P.S. – I have now re-launched my website! Due to financial constraints, it’s not my own .com address, but I’m hoping to soon be able to do that. For now, you can find me (and my published works!) at katrinamwehr.weebly.com!