• Heading to Willamette’s MAT program.
  • Interested in what makes people tick.
  • A sorority sister.
  • A volunteer.
  • From Oakridge, Ore.
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Rachael Peterson has been involved in numerous activities at Willamette.

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Rachael’s volunteer work at Bush Elementary School helped solidify her interest in teaching.

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IAM

A Future Teacher

Rachael Peterson’s Willamette experiences have prepared her to lead elementary school students.

Beyond the Classroom

Rachael Peterson's list of extracurriculars is extensive — student government senator, Willamette student volunteer coordinator at a local elementary school, vice president of philanthropy for Pi Beta Phi sorority, Opening Days leader, senior class council. All that on top of her academics.

She recognizes she might be a bit overbooked, but she says, "Willamette offered so many great opportunities, it was hard to pass them up."

"I've definitely appreciated what Willamette has done for me in terms of academics, but I think my leadership roles outside the classroom also will help me be successful in the real world."

Academic Life

Rachael is majoring in psychology because she feels it will be beneficial in her chosen career: elementary school teacher.

Her senior thesis, about the effects of socioeconomic status on the development of learning styles in elementary age students, blends what she learned in the classroom with her experiences in a semester-long internship at a local elementary school.

The close attention of her Willamette advisors has been crucial in developing her path, she says.

"They are really passionate about you doing well, and they're always there for you."

Why I Value Willamette

"When people are choosing a college, they often only consider the academic aspects of the school. That's obviously important, but my growth as a person was also critical.

"The combination of my Willamette degree with my personal growth — what I've learned about diversity, leadership and how to work with different types of people — are what make my Willamette experience valuable."

The Future

Rachael comes from a family of educators, and after working with children on her own, she realized the career was perfect for her.

She chose to attend Willamette partly because she wanted to stay for five years to also earn her MAT degree at the Graduate School of Education.

"I think inspiring children to be successful is important, and just one person can have such a major impact. Not only will I be able to help kids achieve, but I'll have a rewarding career as well."

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