Katie Zimmerman '12

Why did you choose to pursue a graduate degree?

I chose to pursue a master’s degree in reading specialization at Hood College after working as a high school and middle school English teacher. Working with students who encountered challenges while engaging with a text motivated me to pursue this degree. Even though they were unaware, these students presented me with the challenge of determining their specific literacy needs while sharing my love affair with reading.

Why did you choose Hood College Graduate School?

I chose to attend Hood College Graduate School because the reading specialization program aligns directly with the curriculum I am teaching. Living in Frederick also allowed me to conveniently take classes and seek out the appropriate faculty input and resources needed.

What do you value most about your relationships with your professors?

The professors in this particular program always had one goal in mind: do what is best for that specific child and his or her needs. This overarching theme was evident in every single class I took. We were taught to cater instruction to best suit the needs of each individual learner. It really changed my perspective on teaching. The professors brought all of their teachings to life through real-life scenarios, so we would be over-prepared for the path that our careers might take.

What was your most rewarding class or academic experience at Hood? Why?

The absolute most rewarding experience was the reading clinic internship that was completed over six weeks in the summer. During this experience, I worked with learners of every age and every academic level. In this small community, I was able to apply all the skills I had been taught while receiving constant feedback from my mentors. Although it was one of the most challenging and rigorous experiences of my academic career, it was the most eye opening and appreciated. It inspired me to immediately pursue a career as a literacy specialist.

How do you manage your many other obligations such as work and family with the demands of graduate school?

While completing graduate courses, it’s important to manage your time wisely. It is so easy to get overwhelmingly engrossed in whatever class you are taking, but I always made sure to allot time for myself on the weekends to just relax and take a mental break. Just remember, somehow it always gets done.

Can you offer any tips to prospective students?

In this particular program, I recommend taking only one to two classes each semester. By completing courses this way, it might take you longer, but you will be able to better manage and devote your time to one particular area of focus.

When you aren’t in class, what is your favorite thing to do in your spare time?

I love traveling, kicking my feet up and, of course, reading a great book!