Katie Moore had no idea how worldly her education would be staying close to home and attending the University of Iowa.
Sara Epstein Moninger
Tim Schoon

Growing up just 12 miles north of the University of Iowa, Katie Moore was reluctant to become a Hawkeye. She wanted to go farther away. But a family dinner outing ultimately changed her mind—and led her to an education that has taken her around the world.

While at a restaurant with her parents one night in Solon, Iowa, Moore chatted with a fellow patron who asked about her college plans. When she mentioned she was considering elementary education, the man invited her to Iowa City for a campus visit. He happened to be Nicholas Colangelo, dean emeritus of the UI College of Education.

Did you know?
  • The secondary education program at the University of Iowa College of Education is in the top 2% in the nation, and the elementary education program is in the top 6%.
  • More than 98% of Iowa’s Teacher Education Program graduates were working as educators or not seeking employment, according to 2018–19 data from the UI Pomerantz Career Center.
  • The UI College of Education has more than 28,000 alumni across 78 countries, 50 states, and every Iowa county.
  • Learn more about the UI College of Education.

“He set up a tour for me, and once there I instantly fell in love with the campus and the college,” says Moore, who earns a BA in elementary education in May. “I felt at home because the tour guide and all the people I interacted with that day made me feel calm. I developed strong relationships at Iowa right away.”

After enrolling, Moore took advantage of multiple opportunities to expand her horizons. She took part in India Winterim, a three-week study abroad program where she was able to learn about a different culture and visit multiple classrooms; spent a summer working with American children as a camp counselor at a U.S. Marine base in Okinawa, Japan; and traveled to Costa Rica over spring break to teach multilingual students with a group of peers from the UI College of Education.

Spending time abroad has influenced how she has learned and how she will teach, Moore says.

“Going to India was my first time out of the country. India is so different from the United States and Iowa that it really forced me to be open-minded—and it made me want to never stop traveling and to never stop getting out of my comfort zone,” Moore says. “All my international experiences have taught me to value and celebrate diversity and to find ways to use those differences in the classroom. Doing so will encourage me and my students to keep an open mind.”

Moore also has taken part in educational experiences domestically. In the summer of 2019, she interned at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia in the Office of STEM Engagement, where she learned methods for engaging K–12 students in hands-on science activities.

‘For the Kids’ in the hospital—and in the classroom

Katie Moore
BA in elementary education
Hometown: Solon, Iowa
Future plans: Work as an elementary school teacher—eventually internationally

Graduating senior Katie Moore participated for three years in UI Dance Marathon, a student-led organization that raises money to support pediatric oncology patients and their families. She even ran the Chicago Marathon to raise money for “For the Kids,” or FTK. She hopes to organize a mini fundraiser for the philanthropy in the elementary school she teaches in. “My sister had participated in Dance Marathon and I wanted to try it at least once. I loved it! I never would have run a marathon if it hadn’t been for such a good cause.”

“I learned so many different ways to incorporate technology into education,” says Moore, whose education degree includes endorsements in reading and language arts. “Virtual reality, for example, allows you to go on field trips without leaving the classroom. I’ll be taking that to my students in the future.”

The opportunities Moore pursued as an undergraduate are available to all students in the College of Education—and are highly encouraged. But Moore stands out, says Ted Neal, clinical associate professor and a 2017 graduate of the college’s doctoral program in teaching and learning.

“Katie is so intrigued to learn. She pushes herself and her boundaries so that she can be the best she can be,” says Neal, who was part of the study aboard program in Costa Rica and has himself taught in Portugal and Australia. “Going abroad showed her that the world is a lot bigger than Solon or Iowa City. And at NASA, she got to work with world-class scientists and gain access to resources that most teachers don’t have. All of that will benefit her as a teacher.”

It was in high school that Moore first considered a career in education. She worked at a day care and says she quickly realized she couldn’t imagine a future for herself that didn’t include interacting with children every day. Though she aims to teach internationally, the coronavirus pandemic has put those plans on hold, and she now is looking for a job closer to home, ideally teaching fourth grade.

“All the opportunities I’ve had at the University of Iowa helped me grow as a learner, as a future teacher, and as a person—and I don’t know that I would have gotten those at another institution.”

Katie Moore
2020 graduate, University of Iowa College of Education

“I student-taught fourth grade at Coralville Central. I like it because it’s an age when they’re really starting to come into their personalities, and they’re so creative,” she says. “But no matter what classroom I end up in, I’ll be happy because I’ll be teaching.”

Moore says Iowa prepared her well to teach.

“All of my professors here have been outstanding. They truly care about the well-being and success of their students. We are taught critical thinking skills and then have the chance to practice them with students early on by spending time in classrooms,” she says. “All the opportunities I’ve had at the University of Iowa helped me grow as a learner, as a future teacher, and as a person—and I don’t know that I would have gotten those at another institution.”