It’s no wonder Kaitlyn Leister wants to become a teacher someday. The classroom has always been a place where she has found success.
The 19-year-old from Oaks, Pa., graduated from Montgomery County Community College and is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in education from Millersville University.
She was recently named a member of the 2021-2022 All-Pennsylvania Academic Team, sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the international honor society for two-year colleges, and the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges.
This recognition honors an exceptional group of community college students who have achieved academic excellence and demonstrated a commitment to their colleges and communities.
“It was definitely a little nerve-wracking. I’m glad the work was appreciated,” she said on the recognition. “I’ve always been a studious person. I just like being in an academic environment.”
Only a few months into the pandemic, Leister began taking online classes at MCCC in the fall of 2020. The tech-savvy teen said she found a way to flourish despite working entirely virtually.
When she first entered college, she said she was unsure what she wanted to do with her life but credits the help her advisors and classmates gave in pointing her in the right direction. Leister is the first student to graduate from MCCC’s new Pottstown College Connections Experience (CCE) program, an immersive academic pathways program.
Thanks to the help she received, Leister realized her calling in life.
“I found I wanted to follow the path of becoming an educator,” she said. “I would also like to thank the teachers I have had throughout my whole life, as it was them being such kind people who supported me that made me wish to return the favor and become the teachers they were. I chose history, as I felt history is an important subject, and is one of telling stories of how things came to be.”
Last fall, Leister, a first-generation college student, finished her associate’s degree at MCCC, graduating magna cum laude. An only child, she said earning the first of what she expects will be several college degrees is a major accomplishment for her and her family.
“I am motivated to succeed to be the first of my parents to go to college and get my degree,” she said. “Neither of my parents have a college degree, so when I was growing up, it was more expected I would go to college without a second thought. I was always told I could have my degree to be in anything, as long as I got a college degree.”
As a teacher, Leister said she hopes to inspire her students in the classroom the same way teachers in the past did for her.
“I want to leave a good mark on the education field in my future, with students who comeback years later to tell me how they are doing in life and how they have changed from when I had them,” Kaitlyn Leister said. “Just knowing I was a part of someone’s journey to having a successful and fulfilling life is more than I could ever want.”
Read more about Kaitlyn Leister here.