Sela Hanson

Sela Hanson finds her community and career path

As a new student, Sela Hanson knew she wanted to help others in her professional life, but she didn’t know exactly how to do so. Now she’s found her place in the elementary education program.

“Once I started my program and got to know my instructors, advisers, and other students, I became a lot more comfortable. Once you get immersed into the Iowa State culture it gets a lot easier. You find your community.”

It didn’t take Sela long to realize the path she wanted to take.

“It was scary because I didn’t know when I was going to figure it out,” she said. “But I ended up figuring it out early on… I just had a feeling to go with it, and I stuck with it.”

Her involvement outside of class and in her learning community helped Sela solidify her feelings about teaching. During her freshman year she did her first practicum, volunteering twice a week in a fifth grade classroom in Ames.

“This was my first true experience working in a classroom with students, and it was such a blast,” she said. “I loved being able to work with students with varying needs and watch them develop and flourish throughout the months I was with them. This experience proved to me that I’m going down the right career path.”

Inspired by her own learning community peer mentor, Sela later became peer mentor herself for a group of first-semester freshmen. Through the experience, she became more comfortable leading a group of people.

“I just wanted to give back and help other people figure out what they want to do,” she said. “Honestly, I was a bit nervous about beginning this leadership position… I knew though that in order to progress in the field I was so passionate about, I needed to get out of my comfort zone and learn to be composed in those situations.”

Sela’s dream job is to be a middle school math teacher. She was inspired to take on this specific path by her own experiences growing up.

“When I was in middle school I struggled with math and school in general,” she said. “Now I can do math, and I even know how to teach it – so it’s cool to see the growth that I’ve had. I want to show kids that they can do it and are capable of achievement even if they’re at the ‘bottom.’”