Five Questions with…..Katarina Moore

April 28, 2020

CASL Honors student Katarina Moore always knew she wanted to be a teacher. The Fielek Endowed Scholarship and Brownfain Endowed Memorial Honors Scholarship are helping her get closer to that goal by being able to graduate in four years.

Why did you choose to attend UM-Dearborn?

I chose to attend UM-Dearborn for a few reasons, actually. UM-Dearborn is one of only four schools in the state of Michigan that offers a teachable speech minor for those who are going into the field of Secondary Education. As a longtime Speech and Debate competitor, I knew that I wanted to continue to be a part of the Michigan Speech Community and be able to help support students in that way. Additionally, I was really impressed by the Honors Program at UM-Dearborn. I liked that the incoming classes moved through the sequence together because it would ensure that I had at least some friends (I only knew one person on campus when I first came) and I loved how small the program was. I also loved that the education program started placing people in schools as early as their freshman year. A lot of other education programs did not put their education students in classrooms until their fourth or fifth year, and I knew that I definitely didn't want that. The campus was also close enough to my home that I could continue living there, which definitely makes a difference financially and meant that I could still work throughout my college education. UM-Dearborn was really just the best overall fit for me!

How did you become interested in your major?

I have always wanted to be a teacher. As early as preschool I had teachers who would ask the question "well, do you want to teach the class Katarina?" because of my constant interruptions, and I never took that to mean that I should be quiet; rather, I would respond, "yes please!" to their slight horror and great chagrin. My subject area of interest definitely changed over the years but I have always enjoyed reading, and I found that my favorite teachers always seemed to be those who taught literature. I think that I was in middle school when I finally settled on becoming an English teacher, as I had realized that I wanted to be like the English teachers that I had in my life and have the same impact on others as they had on me.

Middle school was also when I discovered my love of public speech and debate activities, which I started coaching as early as my freshman year of high school. However, with a Secondary Education Teaching Certificate, there is the choice to either go into middle school or high school -- you become certified for both. I had always said that I would never be a middle school teacher because I knew how terrible I was in middle school and I didn't want to deal with that.

But, over my last two years of high school, I started working with the middle schoolers more often and I have learned that I liked that age group more than I had originally thought. Middle school kids are going through such a huge period of growth and change in their lives, and I really like being a part of that. Being able to provide structure and support to kids and working alongside them to discover their passions is deeply fulfilling to me, and I cannot wait to experience this growth process more often in a classroom of my own.

What are your educational/academic goals? What are your future career plans?

My academic goals are to graduate from UM-Dearborn in four years with as many academic honors as possible. Being in Secondary Education is essentially being a double major; I have to earn a full B.A. in English as well as complete the Teaching Certification program, which is definitely not an easy task to do in only four years. However, I know that the sooner that I am in a classroom, the happier I will be. Thus I have made it my priority to take classes that are all pertinent to my major and certification program and have not taken less than 15 credit hours each semester. I have also been taking Summer classes when I can to ensure that I am able to graduate on time. I am happy to say that I am currently on track, holding a 3.98 GPA, and it looks like I will be graduating in May of 2022.

In the future, I hope to become a Middle School English/Language Arts teacher, as well as a Speech and Debate coach. I also hope to continue to be involved with the local theatre scene, whether as an actor or an educator.

In the long-run, I would love to start a school of my own. I came from a very small private school that had a very high tuition. As a low-income student, my family had to make a lot of sacrifices for me to go there and none of that would have been possible without the very generous financial aid that I received. I am aware that there are other young people whose families are not in a position where they can make those sacrifices to get an individualized education that may not be offered at a public school. Therefore, I would like to open my own charter school that focuses on a holistic model of education in the same vein as Maria Montessori, George and Annamarie Roeper, and the laboratory schools ran by John Dewey in order to offer this kind of education to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it. This is a long-range goal, but one that I see as absolutely possible.

What faculty member(s) most encouraged you in your studies? Is there one class, research activity, event or extracurricular activity that made a lasting impact?

The faculty members in the Honors Program have been integral to my education thus far, and I am very grateful for their assistance. Specifically, Professors P. F. Potvin and Michael Rosano have been entirely supportive and understanding of me as a student and human being, and I could not thank them enough for all that they have done. They have both opened their office doors to me on multiple occasions (even when I was not presently enrolled in one of their classes), allowing me to check in with them about my classes, work, and mental health. I am thankful that I was able to form a relationship with them during my freshman year and am able to continue to interact with them in the Honors Program for the next two years.

The extracurricular event that I have enjoyed the most thus far was the TEDxUM-Dearborn 2019 Conference, as I was able to serve on the Executive Committee as the Director of Communications and Volunteer Coordinator throughout the 2018/2019 school year and through the event. I was able to learn a lot about working as a team, successful event management, and coordinating between campus offices. I hope to be able to facilitate the hosting of a TEDx or other public speaking events in the future!

What did it mean to you to receive the Dr. Carole A. Fielek and Mr. Anthony Fielek Endowed Scholarship, John J. Brownfain Endowed Memorial Honors Scholarship? How will these scholarships help you in your academic and career goals?

Receiving these awards was an absolute blessing to me this year. I had to take out a good amount of loans during my freshman year as I took classes in the Summer as well as the Fall/Winter semesters. I was worried that I would have to take out even more loans this year and that I would not be able to begin paying them back. However, due to the scholarships that I received this past year, I did not have to take out any loans for the 2019/2020 school year, thus allowing me to begin repaying my student loans and not have to worry as much about my family's finances during the school year.

The Dr. Carole A. Fielek and Mr. Anthony Fielek Endowed Scholarship was meaningful to me because it helped me to feel confident that I have the full support of all those in the education department at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. The Fielek scholarship also helped me to work even harder this year towards my Secondary Education Teaching Certificate, as I want to honor the Fielek's memories through my academic success in the field of education.

Receiving the John J. Brownfain Endowed Memorial Honors Scholarship made it certain to me that my dedication to the Honors Program did not go unnoticed, and I am grateful to be able to represent and carry on the legacy of a man that was instrumental in the founding of UM-Dearborn. These scholarships have helped me get closer to my goal of teaching in my own classroom in four years, and I am grateful to be able to represent such wonderful members of the UM-Dearborn educational community.

Back to top of page