SOLES Student Spotlight: Tina Kimsey '19 (BA), '20 (MEd Student)

begin quoteI wanted to have a really strong foundation of how to follow curriculum while also making it engaging for students and how to design lesson plans that are actually going to be effective for all types of students

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Tina Kimsey and I’m in the CTEP program, which means that I will get my master’s just one year after completing my undergrad. I’m originally from Lake Oswego, Oregon, which is right outside of Portland. I am the oldest sibling of six children and my youngest sister is four, so I’ve always been around kids. Outside of school, I really love to go to concerts, spend time with friends, and read.

You originally came to USD as an undergrad and graduated as a valedictorian within the College of Arts and Sciences as a Liberal Studies major. How was that whole experience for you?

I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher but as I was going to high school, I was taking AP Science classes and thought that I would maybe be a doctor or a nurse but quickly realized in my senior year of high school that I wanted to be a teacher and a lot of people were like “Really? You’re so smart, why don’t you go and be a doctor or a surgeon?” and I was like ‘I feel like you need to be equally as smart to be a teacher’. So, I put that down on my USD application that's what I was interested in and went from there. 

When I got accepted into USD, the Mulvaney Center actually reached out to me and asked me to do my work-study with Linda Vista Elementary school students; so since my first year at USD, I have been on the teaching path even when I hadn’t declared. When I finally declared, [Dr. Daley] got me in the classes that I wanted to do and within that same semester, said, 'There’s this program coming up and you would stay one extra year and you would get your Master’s with it.' To me, that just made sense because I wanted to get it at some point. It has been really cool because I graduated as valedictorian for the College of Arts and Sciences but it didn’t feel like I graduated because, in my mind, I’m still in school for another year. 

As a student within the CTEP (Combined BA/M.Ed Teacher Education) program at USD, your decision to become an educator is one that has to have been made early on. Why did you choose to pursue this career path?

Pursuing my Master’s is something that I’ve always wanted to do but I didn't really know what field or study I wanted to get my Master’s of Education in. This one is Curriculum & Instruction and I felt really called to do this one first. I wanted to have a really strong foundation of how to follow curriculum while also making it engaging for students and how to design lesson plans that are actually going to be effective for all types of students. So that was my goal for doing the extra year and being able to have that active research under my belt before going into the classroom.

Where you involved with any extracurricular activities during your time as an undergraduate?

During my undergrad experience at USD, I became really involved in the Living and Learning Communities (LLCs) on campus, which is a first-year transition program that all students go through. In my sophomore year, I was a scholastic assistant. Then, the next year I was a facilitating scholastic assistant for Cultivate where we had new LLCs for all of our students [and] I was able to work really closely with Community Directors and Resident Assistants to build what Cultivate would look like. 

I also applied for Scholastic Chair and ended up getting that, where I served in my second semester of Junior year and throughout my senior year here; it was awesome because I got to put on training programs, interviews for student leaders, hiring and professional development. That took up pretty much all four years of my time as an undergrad but I also did Mulvaney Center work right here in Linda Vista, as well as with Campus Ministry for a couple of their retreats.

How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?

Honestly, maintaining a healthy work/life balance is something that I’m always working on. There are months or semesters where I feel “Wow, that was a lot smoother than last semester” and then there are semesters where I’m constantly tired, but I feel like it’s a work in progress. A big thing for me is having 30 minutes a day to read or sit and do nothing. I also paint a lot so even when I don’t know what I’m going to paint, I’ll just scribble on paper things that relax my mind. I think it’s always a work in progress and something that you have to constantly re-evaluate with yourself.

Would you like to give a shoutout to anyone?

During my time at USD, there have been so many amazing professors. Dr. Daley has been my advisor for four years now and she has helped me with what classes I needed to take, what professors are like, and what to expect as I go into each semester. She has also been a great support as I’ve been like “I want to graduate on time so I’m going to take 18 cedits” and she’ll say “Okay but come into my office if you’re stressed” so she’s always been a great support. I also have really loved all the art classes. Dr. Terry Glaser, specifically has been an amazing support for my educational philosophy; her theater class was really great. Outside of USD, I’ve worked with amazing teachers at Linda Vista Elementary School. Roberta Solozano and Evelyn Ruiz were the first ever teachers that I’ve worked with and now they’ve become my friends.

Any final thoughts?

It was a huge transition to come all the way to San Diego. I’m actually the first person in my family to move for college, but specifically on my dad’s side of the family, the first person to go to a four-year university. I think it was just kind of crazy and unheard of to move; especially when people would ask if I had any relatives down there [in San Diego] and I would say “No” and that “I just wanted to start fresh.” But the first year was crazy. I was unsure, thought maybe I should move back home and see my sisters more often but the biggest motivation I had was to just stick it out for one year and see how it felt. However, by the end of that year, I had already formed friendships and bonds that pulled me back to sophomore year. Suddenly, San Diego felt like home and that was just a really great feeling because now I’m totally comfortable and want to stay here for the next year teaching and graduating with my Master’s. It’s been a journey and a transition but I’m definitely glad that I took that step to become more independent.


Christian Perez


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