Graduate Profile: Katie Umbarger
When Katie Umbarger ’11 walked through the door to higher education as a first-generation college student, she was supported every step of the way.
“Alma took me under its wing and guided me through the process of entering college,” she says. “The concept of college seemed pretty surreal, but I was blessed with an amazing admissions counselor who helped me through everything. Alma was like finding a second family.”
By majoring in elementary education with an early childhood endorsement, Umbarger says her lifelong goal has always been to open the doors of learning to others, just as they were opened for her.
“I want to give back to my community and society, and I feel there is no better way to do that than to enhance a child’s life with education,” she says. “Your education is one thing you will always have.”
As the program director and lead teacher at Swan Valley Child Care and Before and After School Program, that’s exactly what Umbarger is doing. She says while watching children grow and learn, she calls on her Alma experience.
“I am able to use the administrative skills that I gained while working in Admissions for five years, as well as what I learned through my education classes,” she says. “The education department, and all of the staff, truly care about where you are headed in life, and they will do what they can to prepare you for the future.”
While at Alma, Umbarger was a member of both Education Club and Kappa Delta Pi. She is quick to point out that the opportunities are endless.
“With a big course load and working so much, I didn’t take advantage of all the opportunities available, but they were always there,” she says. “I am very thankful for the well-rounded education that I received at Alma.”