Graduating in three years with a double major seemed unheard of to Kayla Fawbush's freshman adviser, so much so that the Lawrenceburg senior was advised not to take on the challenge because she would likely be forced to drop out.
Almost three years later, Fawbush is a student teacher planning to graduate in May with a double major in mathematics and science and mathematics education (SMED) with a certification in secondary education.
"Before I was a freshman, I had a professor sit down and tell me I was going to fail out and not complete college," Fawbush said. "So I was very timid and discouraged."
Although she felt slightly uneasy, once classes began, she had no doubt this was what she wanted to do.
Bowling Green alumna Emilee Hagan graduated in December with a major in both mathematics and science and mathematics education. She met Fawbush as a sophomore with whom she was partnered in every SMED class they had.
"(Fawbush) set a goal to graduate in three years and was willing to do whatever it took to make that goal happen," Hagan said.
Both Fawbush and Hagan were a part of WKU's SKyTeach, a program recently adopted by WKU that is funded by the National Math and Science Initiative in attempts to improve the quality of math and science teacher education.
"The SKyTeach program did an excellent job at preparing me for student teaching," Hagan said. "They got us in a classroom from the beginning for some awesome hands-on experience."
During her time spent in the SKyTeach program, she went through classes in which she got to go into elementary and middle schools and teach math and science lessons, Fawbush said.
"The SKyTeach program offered a lot of great opportunities," she said. "The experience and instruction was incredible."
Now a math teacher at South Warren High School, Sarah White is also a WKU alumna and teaching in the classroom where Fawbush is completing her student teaching. She said the SkyTeach program is really beneficial to students as they go into their student teaching.
"Kayla is very comfortable with the students," White said. "She doesn't hesitate to jump in and help students on assignments."
Currently, Fawbush works primarily with students in geometry and basic math classes.
"She is very organized and already planning lessons, activities, grading papers, learning students' names, etc." White said. "She was born for this."
Fawbush is one of the 243 WKU students that are student-teaching this semester. One of her peers, Shepherdsville senior William Lanham, is currently completing his student teaching in English at Bullitt East High School.
"It looks good on paper," Lanham said. "It's when you get in the classroom that you find out if you are going to fall on your face."
Although math and sciences are the departments with the SKyTeach program, Lanham said even he got the chance in his undergraduate studies to go into a classroom and observe some great teachers.
"The time you spend in a classroom alongside an experienced teacher provides knowledge and insight that cannot be taught from a textbook," White said.
Also available to WKU students is the chance to study abroad and complete student teaching. Fawbush said that WKU has now partnered with 10 foreign countries to provide their student teachers with the chance to complete a month long student teaching program overseas.
On April 6, Fawbush will complete her student teaching in the states. She will then travel to Barcelona, Spain, where she will student-teach until May 10 and then graduate one year prior to her expected graduation date.