Laura Birdsong

Scholarship Awarded: 
JET Program

Major: Middle Level Education

Hometown: Georgetown, KY

Why you selected your area of study: I selected middle level education as my major because I have a passion for helping students develop a growth mindset and gain confidence in their own abilities. By becoming an educator I have dedicated my life to being a lifelong learner, and continue to enjoy learning as much from the students as they learn from me. 

Activities performed under area of study: Throughout my program of study, I have completed over 135 days of practicum and student teaching placements in various middle schools throughout the Central Kentucky area. The schools I have worked at were diverse, including a large percentage of students who are english language learners. My experiences working with english language students sparked my interest in teaching english as a second language. Additionally, I completed a studied abroad in Osaka, Japan that expanded my understanding of the Japanese language and culture. Through this program, I was pushed outside of my comfort zone, and was able to see the beauty of Japan's landscape, participate in rich intercultural experiences, and develop further friendships with students from around the world. 

Professors/advisers who have been most influential: Dr. Rintamaa, my professor and adviser, has played an influential role in my desire to teach. She has always been there to guide me, and has taught me the skills necessary to create a lasting impact on my future students. If it were not for her thoughtful advice, instruction, and insight, I would not be driven to become the student and educator I am today. I want to thank her for allowing me to see that great learning can take place from one's mistakes, and for pushing me towards success. 

Life experiences that influenced you toward your area of study: When I was in high school, I studied Japanese language and culture for two years and was a member of a Japanese choir. My high school Japanese teacher, Nathan Patton, always encouraged us to go out of our comfort zones and explore the unique world around us. These fond experiences fostered my love for language and culture, and eventually led me to study abroad in Japan.