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Kristen Smith Myers2014 Rising Alumni

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Kristen Smith Myers is a diversity and international education leader at Ashesi University College, Ghana's only liberal arts college. She is currently part of the team executing a $13 million MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at the college. Millicent works extensively with the admissions team to select some of the brightest young minds in Ghana and across Africa who are financially underprivileged but academically brilliant to study at Ashesi. She is also a board member for the local Girls' Exploration and Empowerment Club, an after school learning center for underprivileged girls.

Employer

Special Education Building Coordinator
North View Junior High, Osseo Area Schools

CEHD Degree

B.S., Elementary Education;
Post Bacc; M.Ed., Special Education

What gets you excited about work?

It is gratifying to know that I can help families and students understand their Due Process rights and help them receive the services they need. My passion is ensuring each student has the best opportunity to learn and grow. That is accomplished through collaboration with other departments within North View, other schools, school administrators, case managers, and parents for each student placement.

What professors were most influential during your time in CEHD?

Christine Peper was both my professor and developmental disabilities adviser. Her style was a perfect fit for me. I was lucky enough to have her advice, knowledge, and support with me every step of the way from undergrad through grad school. I continue to tap into Christine’s expertise today. In my current role, I draw on Mary Beth Kelley’s assessment class, which was an in-depth look at special education laws, IEP’s, evaluations and due process, on a daily basis.

Who has inspired you the most during your career?

My mom. From childhood to present day, I've watched how hard my mom works and how she puts so much into her career. My mom taught me that hard work, dedication, courage, and kindness are all necessary to succeed in life. I have always looked up to my mom and hope that one day I can be as much of a role model to my family as she has been to me.

If you could have coffee with anyone from history, who would it be?

Temple Grandin. Her research and personal experiences have helped me see into the world of someone with autism spectrum disorders. She is an advocate for people with autism and someone to truly look up to.

What is your favorite University of Minnesota memory?

Being part of a sorority and developing true-life long friendships. I also spent my first two years cheering at the University. Supporting the school and athletes, traveling for away games, the whole “Bowl” game experience, and Homecoming are all experiences I will never forget.

What was the impact and benefit of your experience in CEHD?

I believe the reputation of CEHD is second to none. The faculty prepared me to become a leader in special education and I believe being a graduate of the CEHD's program helped me stand out during my job search. I continue to learn from and be inspired by my mentors Christine Peper and Heather Cronin Ott, cooperating teacher and CEHD alumna. I still seek their advice on a regular basis.