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Commencement Speaker: Hannah Burns

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HannahBurns

Since she was a first-grade student at Beechwood Elementary School in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, Hannah Burns knew she wanted to be a teacher and give back to the same community that raised her. As she began looking at options for college, the now 22-year-old reflected on her many interactions with impactful people in her life who attended Northern Kentucky University. For Hannah, the decision to attend the university was a no-brainer.

“I was 17 when I made the decision to come to NKU but I was able to see how NKU prepares people to give back to their communities,” she says. “I appreciated that I could get a high-quality degree from an accredited institution that was right in my backyard and allowed me to stay connected to the activities, relationships and values that had shaped me growing up.”

Once she arrived on campus, Hannah immediately got to work on fulfilling the dream she had when she was younger, studying elementary and special education and becoming quickly familiar with her classmates.

“The best of my experiences at NKU have been with the group of friends I came to know through the teacher education program,” she says. “The close-knit nature of the education program allowed us to have multiple classes together. I simply cannot help but smile when thinking about the laughter and memories we have shared.”

Hannah’s favorite place on campus, the Mathematics, Education and Psychology Center, is also the same building where she took most of her classes and came into contact with Drs. Bianca Prather-Jones and Missy Jones—both professors in the College of Education.

“Both professors who have completely changed me for the better as an educator,” Hannah says.

“The close-knit nature of the education program allowed us to have multiple classes together. I simply cannot help but smile when thinking about the laughter and memories we have shared."

Those connections Hannah made with her fellow students and professors is important, she adds, and are important to crafting a personal NKU experience.

“I would tell a first-year student that you create your own experience,” she says. “Making connections with classmates, professors and other people you interact with throughout your time at NKU is not only beneficial but life giving. Appreciate your professors, ask the questions, and gain all the knowledge you can. The enriching environment that is NKU cannot be replicated so appreciate it while you are here.”

As she prepares to graduate from NKU, Hannah says she will miss the dynamic that is created by going to school where most people are local residents.

“People are connected in multiple different ways, and it gives a supportive and welcoming environment that feels like home,” she says.

When Hannah isn’t doing school work, she can be found doing activities such as, cooking, baking and crafting. She enjoys being with her loved ones and meeting new people. One way she does this is through volunteering in a variety of capacities. Hannah hopes to land a job in an elementary school teaching in either elementary or special education.

About This Article

Trey Crumbie

Contributor, NKU Magazine

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Published April 2021
Photography provided by Scott Beseler
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