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Abigail Kuhn ’04
1. Basic Information:
Name: Abigail Kuhn
Title: Grades 6-8 Social Studies Teacher
Organization: Ann Arbor Learning Community
City: Ann Arbor, MI
2. Educational Record:
At Marietta College:
Graduation Year: 2004
Major: Middle Childhood Education, Cum Laude
Master of Arts in Educational Technology Candidate
3. Living the Mission Reflection:
When I first moved to Ann Arbor in the spring of 2006, I never dreamed I would still be here eight years later. During these years as a teacher at Ann Arbor Learning Community, I have been provided with numerous professional experiences that have helped me develop as an educator. I have served as lead teacher for four years and have also enjoyed the opportunities to be the yearbook coordinator and National History Day advisor. At our school, we seek to foster a lifetime love of learning, which is something that grew during my time at Marietta, both through the Education Department and the McDonough Center, and is something that I still value greatly today. As a Henry Ford Teaching Fellow in 2013, I had the opportunity to collaborate with other passionate educators to write curriculum for teachers to use with the museum’s collections. While I discovered how the museum could enrich the education of my students and supplement what goes on in my classroom, this time also allowed me to work with the larger community to design something that would benefit more than the students in my classroom.
Throughout my eight years of teaching, no experience has proven to be as enriching as traveling to China on a trip sponsored by National History Day during the summer of 2013. While our extensive reading prior to the trip centered on the trip theme, “Understanding Leadership: China in the 20th Century,” the value of the trip reached a number of levels. I gained a deeper appreciation for a place and culture that sometimes seemed so vastly different from that in the United States, and it was energizing to travel with a group of educators who value people, leadership, and education. As we moved from city to city in China, we were able to discuss broad issues of leadership through the lens of a country that changed so drastically in the 20th Century. There is no doubt that this trip gave me the opportunity to explore and reflect on my own leadership, which deepened my desire to help develop young leaders.
Inspired by the trip to China, I designed a weekend leadership camping retreat for the eighth graders at my school with the goal of helping students begin to see their role in our K-8 community and what it means for them as teenagers preparing to enter high school. I am excited to see how this program develops over time, and I believe that it is one way that I have been able to “give back” the gift of the McDonough Center.
My time as a McDonough student at Marietta helped me to develop a number of skills that I use on a daily basis today. It was there that I was encouraged to think about my role in an organization and how to work with a variety of people to accomplish a task. While I may not have been able to recognize it at the time, my desire to help develop young leaders took root during my time at Marietta. I continue to be thankful for the ways in which the people of the McDonough Center and the wider Marietta community invest in their students in an effort to foster leadership in various organizations through a life of “service above self,” and I am confident that I will continue to benefit from this as I seek to “give back the gift.”