Kayla (McCarty) Kaps is a concurrent enrollment broadcasting instructor, teaching in the same metro Indianapolis high school she attended as a student. That in itself is not terribly remarkable. What is more remarkable is that through her experience as a concurrent enrollment student in that same program, Kayla found a surprising path forward, attending a university she’d never heard of and majoring in something she never planned to study. She described her experience as a “waterfall effect,” as one thing led to the next and the next.
Now that Kayla teaches where she went to high school, she realizes how fortunate she was to have had an expectation of attending college built into her by her family. Kayla’s original plan always was to be a teacher, but during her sophomore year of high school, her teacher, Mr. George, noticed her writing style and recruited her into the broadcasting program. Kayla was fascinated with the number of skills involved in broadcasting and wanted to learn them all.
When the concurrent enrollment partnership with the University of Southern Indiana (USI) was announced in her junior year, she thought, “I love this. Why wouldn’t I want to do this in college?” Kayla signed up for USI credit, not realizing the waterfall was already carrying her along.
As a NACEP-accredited program, USI’s radio/TV faculty liaison, Mr. Morris, was required to visit the high school, observe teaching and review student work. Kayla met Mr. Morris during one of his visits when he listened to her work, He gave her materials about USI, and ultimately recruited her to the campus and the program. Before Kayla graduated from high school, she told Mr. George she wanted his job someday. “I thought he had it all – he was a teacher and worked with radio equipment!”
Kayla rocketed through her college career, stacking up awards for her news stories and leadership of USI’s alternative radio station, “The Edge”. After graduation from USI, she worked professionally as program director for a local station while teaching radio as an adjunct professor. That teaching experience hooked her again, and she pursued a teaching license to be able to compete for her former teacher’s position when it became available.
Now that she’s come full circle, Kayla is able to speak to the long-term power of concurrent enrollment, even for something as seemingly minor as a broadcasting practicum course. Concurrent enrollment instructors have the opportunity to see students’ skills and involve them in something for which they have a talent. College credit is icing on the cake, because it can help students start to think of themselves as college-bound and give direction.
Kayla said, “When looking at colleges, it’s hard to know where to start – even if you know what career you want. Having [concurrent enrollment], figuring out the credit system early – that’s helpful.” Even if students choose a different career path, understanding the higher education system and process is half the battle. Concurrent enrollment makes college seem more attainable.
And there’s no doubt that’s a message Kayla will broadcast to her students every day.
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