Karin Blythe, '08

Liberal Studies | February 5, 2013

Accomplishment: Teach for America, Graduate work at an Ivy League school
Major: Liberal Studies
House: Amici

When Karin Blythe ’08 graduated from Graceland, she left Lamoni “on a high.” After getting involved with Graceland Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), the Honors Program, Campus Ministries, Student Government and House Council, Karin knew she had the skill set to take on the world. And that’s exactly what she set out to do.

Karin was accepted into Teach for America, a prestigious, two-year program that stations ambitious educators in low income, high-need school districts to ensure that children who grow up in poverty receive an excellent education. Through Teach for America, Karin was certified to teach middle school Math, and after a brief, but rigorous, training workshop, she was sent to an area of high need: Newark, New Jersey.

Transitioning from what Karin calls the “simple joys” of Lamoni to an economically challenged, sprawling suburb of New York City, Karin tackled the tasks of being a first-year teacher and her Teach for America requirements.

“It was quite a lot to jump into,” said Karin. “It was a very, very challenging experience. Nevertheless, when I came back for my second year, I applied everything I had learned, and it was incredible. I invested myself in that community and it’s something that will impact the rest of my life.”

"The liberal arts aspect of Graceland has been incredibly valuable; it prepared me for things I never knew would come my way. I left Graceland with a diversity of skills which allowed me to be flexible in a variety of settings."

After finishing her term with Teach for America, Karin interned a year with the World Service Corps, and began researching graduate programs that would combine her passion for education with her international aspirations. Inspired by some of her Teach for America struggles, Karin started looking into programs that address education policy and focused on Ivy League schools. She said Graceland’s Honors Program really “set me up with a drive for high quality education.”

After a rigorous application process, Karin was accepted into the prestigious Columbia’s Teacher College, one of the nation’s oldest and largest graduate schools of education. Karin will complete her degree in Education Policy: International Education Development this fall.

Far from her alma mater now, Karin says Graceland continues to have a significant impact on her life.

“The liberal arts aspect of Graceland has been incredibly valuable; it prepared me for things I never knew would come my way. I left Graceland with a diversity of skills which allowed me to be flexible in a variety of settings.”

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