Jenna Niemeyer always has had an interest in reading and writing, and wanted to study English when she began college.
“I did not think I had the patience to be a teacher, but then I began working at an after-school program for underserved children, and my mind changed,” she said. “I learned that I really loved impacting youth and being a positive influence on young people who sometimes had no other form of consistent support outside of school.”
After meeting the dean of Trine University’s Franks School of Education and visiting campus, she transferred to Trine.
“I immediately knew that Trine was the place for me if I wanted to become the best possible teacher I could,” she said. “Consistently, Trine’s School of Education had students passing their licensing exams and placing graduates into jobs at high rates, and the FSOE is structured around a community of professors who are teachers at heart; they will do whatever it takes to help each student in the FSOE succeed and lead at their highest potential. The professors in FSOE are unlike those at any other university because they create individual connections with each and every student in their classes. They are the reason I came to Trine, and they are also the reason that I have grown to become the teacher I am today.”
In addition to personal interaction with faculty, Jenna appreciates the extensive, diverse classroom experiences she had as an education student.
“I was in classrooms as an undergraduate student early and often, which made all the difference when I began interviewing for jobs as a new graduate,” she said. “I had a variety of experiences in a variety of schools with a variety of age levels; principals and school leaders told me in interviews that my amount of experience was impressive, and I owe a great deal of that to Trine. I made connections with cooperating teachers that I still carry with me today.”
She also enjoyed the opportunity to explore diverse interests, including creating a podcast to interview experts about social-emotional learning and presenting at several education conferences.
“That kind of intentional support, mentoring and student-led learning is not something that most post-secondary institutions would allow, but at Trine, this is a reality, and it is one that I am very grateful for,” she said.
Jenna graduated in 2020 with an English education degree. She is currently teaching sixth-grade English at The Orchard School, a private progressive school in Indianapolis.
“What I love most about teaching is helping students to understand the power that comes from being a reader and writer,” she said. “No matter what career a student enters, he/she/they will need to know how to read and write to some degree. The real magic happens when we not only allow students to understand the purpose of learning a skill, but to empower them to use that skill to make real-life connections.”
Last year, her students studied nonprofits that provided targeted assistance, and created mini-websites as a community resource.
“This project practiced the skills of research and informational writing, but it made the learning applicable to students by centering it on areas of interest to them and making it personal to their own community,” she said. “I love allowing students to understand how their learning is relevant to their lives and to those around them.”
She plans to begin her master’s degree in educational leadership sometime this year, and hopes to eventually earn a Ph.D. and work in school leadership. She knows the connections she made with classmates and faculty at Trine will support her throughout her career.
“Trine provided me mentors that have lasted beyond graduation, and that is why I am proudly #teacherbytrine,” she said.