One of the first things Jennifer Younger did when she moved into her first classroom as business technology instructor at North Central Kansas Technical College was put her desk at the back of the room.
With all the computer monitors blocking a view from the front to see student progress on the screen, moving to the back of the classroom seemed to be a logical choice. After that, it has all just been getting started as an instructor, replacing Roberta Augustine, who retired. Becoming a teacher is something Younger has dreamed of one day doing. Her enthusiasm, experience in other areas of the workforce and her vision of looking ahead are some of the things the Hays campus Dean Sandy Gottschalk noticed about her right away.
“She knows computer technology very well,” Gottschalk said. “She’s very comfortable around students. She’s got a very calming manner about her and loves working with students. It was a good pairing.”
A grant manager at NCK Tech last year, Younger came onto the campus tchnologically savvy. She worked for KansasWorks before changing her career, and so she could help students a little more in understanding what kind of characteristics businesses are looking for.
“She’s got some cool visions for that program to beef it up a little bit and make it a little more of an attractive program,” Gottschalk said. “We’re just pleased she was ready to step in.”
Some of what Younger did last year was travel, doing the I.T. Microsoft Academy. With that, she had the opportunity to visit several computer labs and classes in schools across the state. Having the chance to see what other schools are doing and what they have to work with, coming back home she felt good about the computer lab she would have the chance to teach in at NCK Tech
“(We) have an excellent lab,” Younger said. “Ours is definitely one of the nicer ones in the state. I want to continue to take care of it.”
With touchscreen monitors throughout the class, Younger says she is right at home in her role.
As comfortable as she is to this point, she’s excited looking ahead. Her vision is to increase the technology they already have. Some involves helping students develop website building skills.
“If they are going to go to say a small business, they should be able to get a small website up and going and help them up and going with an online presence,” Younger said. “Building in maybe some blogs, YouTube, build that into a site. Ideally, we’d like them to be able to have the ability to process sales online. That’s one new course that I hope to add.”
Social media is one area Younger wants more included into the curriculum as well. Looking ahead for the students, it’s one place she believes doesn’t just benefit them, but will certainly help them in the job market.