Alumni Spotlight – August 2023
Kara Schwendener ’04
By Becky Burkeen, Director of Alumni Relations
There are those people particular men and women in the earth that when they describe why they do what they do for a living, you get overcome with emotion. Their enthusiasm is contagious, and you have to question if every person who worked in that area was just like them…what a excellent world it would be. That’s what talking to Kara Schwendener ‘04 about currently being an educator is like.
Kara was born and lifted in the East County of San Diego, in Alpine, California, and realized from the time she was in kindergarten that she wished to be a instructor. Regardless of whether it was remaining impressed by her kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Turk, enjoying university with her best good friend Natalie, or volunteering with small children as she received older, that like for becoming an educator was always present. When it came time to decide where to go to college, even though, immediately after graduating from Granite Hills Superior University, Kara knew teachers didn’t generate the very best salaries. She liked functioning on computer systems and experienced a loved ones close friend attending Oregon Tech learning pc engineering so she pursued a twin diploma in laptop software engineering in Klamath Falls.
Kara cherished her time at Oregon Tech! She labored in housing for four years as a Resident Advisor and Senior Resident Advisor, volunteered with AWANA and other youth ministries, and made mates that continue being near nowadays. She also produced lifelong relationships with her professors. The academic part was difficult, even though, and at that time, Kara was one of only a handful of girls who had properly absent through the twin Laptop or computer Techniques Engineering and Application Engineering plan. Pc programming didn’t arrive straightforward to Kara and she gives all the credit score to her professors, like Doug Lynn and Todd Breedlove, for arriving early to school, keeping late, and coming in on weekends to aid her triumph. On graduation, she was so thriving that a top Reno employer hired her, Worldwide Gaming Engineering (IGT).
At IGT, Kara worked as a computer software engineer for 5 many years. She grew to become close to many of her fellow Oregon Tech alumni, including Marcus Schwendener ’03, who has labored at IGT for above 20 decades. The two commenced dating and have been married in 2007. To get started a household, Kara took time off from perform to raise their youngsters. When both equally her daughters have been in elementary college, she took the chance to reevaluate her career. Kara realized that her passion did not lie in operating with computers. Having said that, she credits Oregon Tech for transforming her from a pupil with no laptop track record and who struggled into an employable and experienced engineer. Kara understood she was currently spending her totally free time volunteering with kids, so Marcus inspired her to lean into her enthusiasm and pursue her Master’s in Elementary Training, which Kara accomplished via Grand Canyon College. As she put it, “I love getting all-around young ones. They are my individuals.” Earning that next degree was a great deal less difficult for Kara, as she clarifies that Oregon Tech experienced well prepared her to be a tricky employee.
Kara begun her educating profession in 2017 as a substitute trainer, later teaching 2nd and 3rd grades before obtaining her niche as a 6th-grade Math and Science teacher. Closely affected and supported by her Oregon Tech professors, Kara remembers how they taught her the indicating and benefit of differentiated instruction just before it was a principle she would afterwards study to integrate herself as an educator. She claims, “I glimpse again on the professors I had and how they took a individual curiosity in aiding me realize success, usually supplying up hrs of their own time to assistance me reach my aims. They’re certainly my inspiration. I want that for my pupils. I want to be the trainer that gives whatever it can take to aid my students thrive. I want to be the trainer who goes to baseball or soccer games and learns what they are passionate about. I want to be that trainer due to the fact that’s what my academics have been for me, and I know what an effects it experienced on my daily life.” Kara elaborates that she predicted to go to university and be a variety. “I was not prepared for the variety of lifelong relationships that I came out with.” Her guidance for college students is to “stay in the home halls which is wherever the entertaining occurs and where friendships are shaped.” She adds, “You get out of everyday living what you place into it, so lean into it…don’t be scared to go all in!”
Kara and Marcus reside in Reno, Nevada, with their two daughters, Evelyn, age 13, and Laina, age 11. Kara is fortunate to instruct at Marce Herz Middle School, where by her daughters attend. The Schwendeners take pleasure in loved ones recreation evenings and tenting outings with other magnificent Reno alumni in their spare time. Kara is the key instance of another person who has changed professions with grace and inspiration even though still remaining so appreciative of her Oregon Tech practical experience and connected to her alma mater. To know her is to notice what all educators should really aspire to be like.