Meet Early Childhood Education Alumna, Hannah Severson
Monday, May 9, 2022
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Hannah Severson graduated from Oklahoma State University in 2012 with a degree in Human Development and Family Science, option in early childhood education. Her experiences at OSU sparked her passion for early childhood education and prepared her to become an influential educator. After obtaining her degree, Severson has pioneered a pre-k program at a highly ranked school in Fort Worth, Texas, overcome challenges from teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to make a positive difference in the classroom.
What has your career path been?
After graduating from OSU, I moved to Fort Worth, Texas, and started my career in a fine arts pre-k program. After a year working as the afternoon coordinator, I took an ambitious leap of faith and interviewed for a pre-k position at Southwest Christian School — a top private school in Fort Worth — and was accepted into their pre-k program as one of the lead educators. Six years later, I took another leap of faith and decided to work at Tanglewood Elementary School — the No. 1 ranked public school in Fort Worth. Here, I helped start their pre-k program, found innovative ways to teach during a pandemic, and continue to get the opportunity to work with children everyday. It has been a huge blessing in my life.
What sparked your passion in early childhood education?
I always loved kids and I babysat my neighbor’s kids a lot growing up. When I came to OSU, the early childhood education program was so welcoming and encouraging. As soon as I saw the Child Development Lab on campus, I knew this was my calling. I remember observing a teacher who was so encouraging and nurturing, and instantly, it sparked my passion to be an educator.
How do you make a difference in your job?
Every day, I show up for the kids. It is not about me, but the kids and their families. I believe it is my job to be a helper in a community, a leader, an encourager and to believe in my students.
What has been your greatest challenge and greatest success within your career?
The job isn’t easy, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and adjusting to virtual teaching. There were so many times I wanted to hug my students — and I couldn’t. I know parents were stressed and kids were confused on why they were home and not at school. That time period was a struggle for me and I know many teachers out there.
My greatest success is seeing students overcome challenges. When I see students succeed in an area they were struggling with, as a teacher, I feel great success that I helped that student.
What is the favorite part about your job?
Everyday is new and different. I might have lessons planned out, but there is never a guarantee what funny things kids will say or do each day. The kids truly make me smile every day. That is the BEST part of my job — the kids.
Do you have any mentors/professors who greatly impacted you during your time at OSU?
A great mentor to me as a student was Jamie Johnson, a professor for the class: Early Childhood 101. She made a huge impact in my life throughout my college education and helped me become the educator I am today. She also helped me get involved on campus with early childhood activities for other students. Her passion for college students and her friendliness is what made her impactful to others. She inspired me to be a helper in life for kids and families in the classroom.
What is your favorite memory from OSU?
My favorite memory has to be all the sporting events I attended and friendships I made at OSU. OSU is like a big family, once you are a part of the school, you are a part of the family. Every person I encountered at that school is still someone I stay in touch with, which I find amazing after all these years. It truly is a family at OSU and there is no place like it.
What advice would you give to someone aspiring to work in the same field as you?
I would say this world needs more amazing teachers today. Please go into the education field. You will truly help others and make a difference by being a teacher. OSU gave me the confidence to be a great educator today. I am so thankful for everything this school has given me to prepare for the world of education. For that, I am forever grateful. Thank you OSU!! GO POKES!
Story By: Sierra Walter | firstname.lastname@example.org