Pioneer Profile

Rachel Bragstad '18

Major: Educational Studies
Minors: Adaptive Education and Sociology

What made you choose this major?

I have always worked with kids and loved it. Because of that, I just assumed that teaching was what I should go into, so I originally came to Carroll as an elementary education major. After about a year and a half I decided I really liked the idea of working with kids and in a school, but the whole teaching part just wasn't for me. I looked into different paths that I could pursue with an educational studies degree, and found the results were endless. I quickly realized that school social work was what I was really passionate and excited about.

How has what you've learned in your courses so far prepared you for your future?

What I love most about my education courses at Carroll is that everything I have learned has specifically been beneficial to one-on-one instruction, classroom, school or community application. I never once felt like what I was learning was unnecessary or irrelevant. We also did a lot of in-class practices to help us in our field. The classes aren't just about listening to the instructors and going through the motions. They are about discussion, creative thinking, problem solving and experience/practice. Wherever I end up, I know that the education program at Carroll has taught me well, and I'll be prepared for whatever my future holds for me.

What opportunities have you had to work closely with a faculty member and what impact has that had on your education?

The education professors at Carroll have been some of the most inspiring people I've ever met. They all took the time to get to know their students by name and made an effort to be available to their students whenever necessary. I always felt like I could go to any of my professors for assistance, questions or even just to talk. My advising mentor, Dr. Kerry Kretchmar, has been there for me for anything I've needed since my freshman year. She helped me through my major change, challenged my thinking, provided support and assistance and even helped me get a job within the Waukesha School District. Having that personal and professional mentor/mentee relationship with Dr. Kretchmar has been a highlight of my undergraduate career.

What's a unique experience you've had relating to the coursework for your major?

One assignment that particularly stands out to me was a research paper assignment I wrote in Democracy, Schools and Society with Dr. Kretchmar. I wrote my paper on trauma-informed care and even met with a school social worker in Waukesha to discuss it. What I really thought was cool though was seeing what everyone else wrote their papers on and being able to learn so many new things. I enjoyed getting to watch my classmates present on their findings of topics they were passionate about.

How has Carroll enriched your growth as a person outside of the skills you're learning in the classroom?

Going from elementary education to educational studies actually dropped my class load by nearly half. This gave me the opportunity to add two minors. When I was an elementary education major I was also going for a dual certification in special education. I loved those classes and thought they were very helpful, so that's what led me to adding that minor. My sociology minor was added when I decided I wanted to become a social worker. I looked into what other classes and majors social workers usually pursued and found sociology was a big one. Adding my sociology minor was such a great decision. I've learned so much from those classes and found them to be so interesting. Going to my major and minor classes was never a pain. I really enjoyed what I was learning about and I can only hope everyone finds a major that makes them feel like that, too.

Why did you choose to attend Carroll University?

I'm very happy with my decision and where I ended up. I truly appreciate the education I have received. It has not only rounded me out to be a better learner, but a better person as well. The liberal arts background Carroll has really sets up its students for success in the "real world." Carroll isn't just like any other school. You really leave feeling like you got a quality education.

Learn more about the Educational Studies program

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