Emily Crawford earned her elementary education degree by way of the Teacher Apprentice Program while working full-time and raising five children.
Emily is one of more than 2,400 students eligible for spring 2022 graduation. Learn more about her time at Wichita State and what is next for the grad.
What made you want to attend Wichita State?
I became interested in Wichita State University because of the Teacher Apprenticeship Program. In 2017, I was working as an educational aide and learned that there was a program at WSU that would allow me to use the hours I worked with students toward degree hours. I also wanted to attend a local school that was highly accredited with degrees offered completely online.
How are you feeling leading up to graduation?
I am completely ecstatic to graduate. I have been working toward this day for more than eight years. I am feeling incredibly accomplished, being the first in my family to receive a bachelor's degree. I am proud to show my children what hard work and perseverance can get them.
What was been your biggest challenge as a student, and how did you overcome it?
I am a nontraditional student. I waited almost 15 years to attend college after high school, and took eight years to complete my degree. I am married and have five children who keep us very busy, and I also work full-time as a third-grade teacher. There have been more instances than I care to admit when I just wanted to quit, but I knew how important it was to show my children and my students how important it is to never give up.
What has been your most helpful learning experience at Wichita State?
The most helpful learning experience I had while attending Wichita State University was to ask for help when you need it. I used to be someone who never liked asking for help because I didn't want to burden others. I know now that, course instructors especially, are there to help us and are eager and willing to share their knowledge to support our growth.
What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation, I will continue working as a third-grade teacher at Northridge Elementary in Newton. I have worked at this school for five years now, and I couldn't imagine growing in my career anywhere else.
How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect your time at Wichita State?
Fortunately, I did not experience any pitfalls in my education due to COVID.
What advice would you give other Wichita State students?
The advice I would give future WSU students is specifically for adult-learners like myself: It's OK to take your time to finish your degree. We have a lot of life going on around us, careers to attend, children to raise, and families to be present with.