Still Connecting to 'Connected Learning'
Kara Roop Miheretu '01
Kara Roop Miheretu '01 is well on her way to becoming a global ambassador thanks, in part, to the career Lasell helped her launch. After graduating from Lasell, cum laude, in 2001, Miheretu took her BA in Human Psychosocial Development of the Young Child and headed for Namibia as a World Teach program volunteer. Her next step in Southern Africa was as a pre-primary teacher in Botswana, followed by teaching and research assignments in Ethiopia and South Africa.
The Maryland native currently is head teacher at the Rita Gold Early Childhood Center, Teachers College, Columbia University, where she earned an MA in International Educational Development with a concentration in African Education in 2010 and is pursuing a doctorate in International Education. She lives in New York City with her husband, Adane Miheretu, also a master's candidate at Teachers College in International Educational Development with a concentration in Humanitarian Affairs.
Once their education at Columbia is completed, the couple hopes to return to Africa to work in teacher training "so that educators can gain experience teaching young children in a stimulating environment that takes into account local culture, beliefs and practices." Leaves spoke with the Lasell alumna in Manhattan.
Why Lasell? On my first visit to campus, I immediately felt at home. What sealed the deal was the school's "Connected Learning" philosophy; it appealed to my learning style.
What was your undergraduate academic experience like? Awesome! I was the first person in my family to attend college, so I had no clear expectations. My Global Ecology class with Professor Stephen Sarikas gave me a new understanding of the world and the collective footprint we make in it. I drew on that information while teaching Life Sciences to high school students in Namibia.
How did your major help you pursue your profession? My freshman-year placement at The Barn allowed me to embrace that crucial connection between developmental theory and classroom practice which has contributed greatly to my work with teachers in Africa.
Hobbies/passions? Basketball, travel, yoga and meditation.
What's now on your nightstand? Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain (pleasure reading); A Child's Work: The Importance of Fantasy Play by Vivian Gussin Paley and No Greater Love by Levi Benkert and Candy Chand (professional understanding).
Who are your heroes? My husband, who went from a poverty-stricken childhood in Ethiopia to attend University of Addis Ababa on a government scholarship. We met in 2009 at the Shimebla Refugee Camp, where I was an International Rescue Committee intern and he was education manager.
Why is it important to stay connected to your alma mater? After Lasell, I lived in remote areas of Namibia and Botswana without easy access to communication. Having missed out for those years, I am happy to be reconnecting with Lasell, the place that set me on my path.