Freshman Kadera McKinney had her eyes opened by her philosophy professor, Ken Burak, during her second semester at NCC. Burak told his students to take off their "mind glasses" and think of how much better the world would be if society would see the world for how beautiful it really is. That triggered something in McKinney that made her realize that she, too, wants to one day teach this age group to open their eyes to the world around them.
"I really agreed with him," says McKinney. "I think the greatest time to start teaching someone is between the ages of 17 to 25. That's when everyone is trying to find themselves, become their own person, and break away from influences. It's when you find out who you really are."
McKinney has found some kindred spirits in some of her older peers and instructors at NCC. The Easton High School graduate is a self-described "old soul" who has always fit in better with people outside of her own age bracket. Forming bonds with them here has allowed her to start one new student club, and she's already planning on helping a friend of hers form another.
"It's called the Bad Apple Book Club, and what we want to do is get people who don't normally read to realize that it's really cool," says McKinney. "Right now we're reading Fight Club and it's also a movie. We're trying to choose books that people already connect to, like books that are made into movies or vice versa."
McKinney is also a new member of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) and would like to eventually join Student Senate. She'll begin her core classes in secondary education next semester, when it will be time to buckle down and find a way to balance her studies with her extracurricular activities. This is when she'll set on the path to ultimately figure out where she fits best into the world of education.
"I'd like to try to teach high school at some point," says McKinney, whose preferred subject is history. "I like Modern European History, and that deals with the Renaissance all the way through the French Revolution. I also really like learning about World War II. I get that not everyone is really into history, but I think that it's important that we learn history. Otherwise, we're doomed to repeat it."
McKinney is making a short list of colleges she'd consider transferring to after NCC, but really has one goal in mind that she's focusing on: "If you start by showing someone that the world is pretty awesome, you start breaking down the way we look at the world not as something trivial, but as something amazing."
Name: Kadera McKinney
Major: Secondary Education
Projected Graduation Date: 2015