With a last name such as Old, teaching history is an ironic and great path for Kara Old (MA '22, BS '20) to take! During her time at App State, Kara served as an ASU Education Peer Ambassador. She credits her high school History and English teachers in Jamestown, NC, for setting her on a path towards education. In terms of her historical interests, they are mainly based around World History, such as early civilizations in Latin America, revolutions around the world, and Eastern Europe post- World War II. Kara enjoys reading all types of books, traveling, going to the theatre, and spending time outdoors.
Reflecting on the role and value of teachers, Kara shares: "Throughout my life, my greatest role models have been my teachers. I bet that you can remember the names of the teachers you have had that have made an impact on your life! Our best teachers have provided us with a safe environment to learn, and have challenged us to grow. My decision to pursue education not only comes from my love of history, and desire to share my excitement about the past with future generations, but also from the teachers that changed my world perspective and inspired me to develop into the person I am today. Everything I do and every challenge I accept, I do it for the benefit of my future students. I want to learn as much as I can so I can teach them as much as I can. I want to help students develop into knowledgeable citizens and the version of themselves that they want to be. I am looking forward to my journey into the education system!"
Kara also served as the Assistant Editor for History Matters--an Undergraduate Journal of Historical Research published annually by the Department of History at Appalachian State University, and edited by undergraduates with the help of a faculty board. She also earned recognition as an Outstanding Senior and completed her Honors Thesis as an undergraduate.
Along with another alum, Meggin Frazier, Kara was part of the first cohort in the new MA History (Teaching) program.
Why did you decide to major in History/Social Studies Education?
Kara Old: History has always presented itself as a story to me, catching my attention and driving me to want to learn more. For many others, History is a dry subject and their history classes in high school were a bore. There is more to a history class than names and dates, and I want to teach it in a way that engages more minds.
Why does history, and the social studies, matter?
KO: Social Studies encompasses history, and includes so much more. Through social studies, students learn more about the world and what has lead up to our current condition. In the classroom, students will learn not what to think but how to think for themselves, and will become civically involved citizens who will work to make a difference for the future.
"My decision to pursue education not only comes from my love of history, and desire to share my excitement about the past with future generations, but also from the teachers that changed my world perspective and inspired me to develop into the person I am today."
How has the History Dept. and the History Education program helped prepare you for a career in history/social studies education?
KO: The History Education program at App State blends content and pedagogy together to make a more whole practicum, and many of the professors use the best teaching methods to teach their subject. Simply observing a class in Anne Belk gives me ideas and inspiration. As future History teacher who will graduate from this program, I feel ready to navigate the standards, controversies, and beyond with my students and the school system.
What has been a highlight of your experience at App State so far ?
KO: In the Summer of 2018, I went on the War in Europe study abroad and learned more about the end of World War II and the Rise of Communism, which is an era that has fascinated me since middle school. We went to Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary, and I absorbed as much as I could for the sake of my future students.