Katie Freyer, who is majoring in elementary and special education with an endorsement in reading at Eastern New Mexico University, plans to become a high school special education teacher.
"I want to show students that education is all about making a choice to learn and that struggling is the best opportunity to learn, not the ending of learning itself," says Katie, who hopes to pursue a master's degree in special education from ENMU.
The senior, who plans to graduate this December, shares why she was inspired to pursue this field of study and career path: "I was in special education in high school and was never a very good student, I did not even have plans for after high school. However, my senior year, I had a teacher who really believed in me, and he helped me learn to work around my learning disabilities and be successful, which really inspired me to want to become a teacher and help do the same for other special education students."
Katie chose to attend Eastern because she felt the University "had more to offer than just classes, and I was right. ENMU is a community where students are individuals and are cared about like family, and it really has become my home away from home. I have always been big on having a solid support group around me, and Eastern is and has been the perfect supportive place for me."
The dean's list honoree has served as a President's Ambassador (PA) since 2018 and is a member of Zeta Tau Alpha, where she previously held the position of VP2. She has volunteered for the Eastern In Action community service event and Making Strides of Albuquerque, an event that raises money for breast cancer research and helps patients get to treatment.
She loves "everything about being a Greyhound, and that is what has made my job as a PA so easy. When I am talking with potential students, I can tell them all the details about what makes Eastern special and why it could be a good fit for them. Then seeing them show up on move-in day and them coming up to talk and being excited about being a Greyhound makes me very proud of Eastern. I also love my sisterhood, and I would not be where I am without the love and support from my sisters."
Her hometown is Los Alamos, New Mexico, where her mother and father work for the county. Her older brother and fiancée also live in Los Alamos. Katie adds that she has the "best dog in the world," a two-year-old standard poodle named Callum who "loves Eastern almost as much as I do."
Katie's favorite places on the ENMU campus are Greyhound Arena and Greyhound Stadium because she has "so many great memories of me and my sisters going to games, tailgating, and cheering on the Greyhounds."
The classes that stood out the most to Katie so far were Special Education 320 and 328. "I loved taking courses that were all about what I am most interested in teaching and getting to observe special education at Portales High School," she explains.
Katie offers some advice to students interested in pursuing a degree in education: "Get connected and really dive into all of the things that the education department teaches. I would say to make connections with your professors because they will always want you to succeed even when you are not sure you can. Also, keep the things you make and gain in your education classes, start an organization system early and keep everything you make, because it will build your classroom and content someday."
The Greyhound shares that she has had many professors from the College of Education and Technology serve as mentors to her. "Dr. Good and Mrs. Gilbert who taught me so much about special education and really inspired me to be a creative teacher. My amazing advisor, Dr. Kallus, is always there to support me, check on me and really helped me through the fall 2020 online semester. Lastly, Dr. Benge has helped me so much with learning unique ways to help engage students in reading and teaching me that a teacher must always have 'ambiguity.'"
Katie, whose hobbies include traveling, hiking, camping and spending time with her dog, says her dream is to become a teacher in Whitefish, Montana, which she describes as a "Hallmark movie come to life."