By Brooke Larsen
While many undergraduate students juggle a full load of classes and extracurricular activities, one UI College of Education graduate juggled even more during her academic journey – balancing motherhood and being a student.
“It was hard, but I was never once made to feel I didn’t belong in the program,” says Carrie Borchert, who had her daughter, Evelyn, and was pregnant with her second child while pursuing her degree in elementary education. “I was worried about being a mom and coming into a traditional undergrad program, but I was met with so much compassion and empathy from the moment I walked into this program.”
Borchert is not only graduating from the Teacher Education Program this December, but she was also selected as the College of Education student commencement speaker.
Originally from Ankeny, Borchert first graduated from the UI 10 years ago with a bachelor’s degree in history and a minor in art history. She always loved the idea of being an educator, but put it on the back burner while she worked toward her master’s degree in museum studies.
Both Borchert and her husband lived in France while she finished her master’s degree online. In 2011, they returned and her husband started working toward his doctorate in English literature at the UI and then decided he wanted to become a high school English teacher.
Through her husband’s academic journey within the College of Education, Borchert got to see first hand all the opportunities and experiences the UI College of Education offered. After working for a few years and having her first child, Borchert took her dream of becoming an educator off the back burner and decided to pursue a career in education.
Her husband graduated from the College of Education and now teaches English at Liberty High School in North Liberty, Iowa. Borchert says she was passionate about museum studies but finding a job at a museum in Iowa was difficult.
“I never really strayed from education while pursuing the museum field. I always focused on education,” Borchert says. “I enjoyed working with the public and showing them how cool museums can be. I needed a pay check though, so I turned back to public education.”
Borchert applied and was accepted in to the elementary education program. Borchert says the College of Education has done an excellent job giving students classroom experience. Every semester, she’s had the opportunity to work in a classroom with teachers around the Iowa City area.
Borchert says faculty have been nothing but supportive of her situation and helping her become an educator.
“I brought my daughter along to class if I had to, and my professors were very understanding,” Borchert says. “My son was born in 2017, so I was pregnant that entire spring and still went out to math practicum and it didn’t bother anyone.”
As for post-graduation, Borchert is reenrolling as a non-degree seeking student to finish the reading endorsement this spring. Next year, she hopes to teach in Iowa City where her husband and two children reside.
Borchert believes that an educated society is a better one and is excited to build relationships with youth that will help them achieve their dreams.
“I love being with kids of all ages. I am a big kid. I believe the best way to make a difference in society is through one small mind at a time,” Borchert says. “Kids are a symbol of hope for our future. You have a tremendous amount of impact in how you educate and nurture a child.”