Kegan Fountain, a junior from Ann Arbor, Mich., took the scenic route to WVU and to her major in elementary education.
After her first semester at a university in her home state, Fountain decided to take some time off to evaluate her educational and career goals. She then accepted a position as an AmeriCorps VISTA that brought her to Charleston, W.Va. In this role, she was the manager of an outdoor artisan market, where she gained experience in the public relations field, her intended field of study.
While working for the artisan market, Fountain found that public relations wasn’t the right choice for her, and while working a second job as a nanny, she found that teaching was. The realization struck her while helping a young boy with his homework.
“He had this light bulb moment where he finally understood and it was written all over his face,” Fountain said. “That was when it really clicked for me that teaching was what I wanted to do and how I wanted to help people.”
Fountain, who comes from a family of educators, then grasped why her relatives had chosen careers in education and why she should, too.
“I come from a huge family,” Fountain said. “My parents and grandparents are educators, and my stepmom works in higher education. It’s something I’ve been around forever. It’s not something I thought I’d ever find myself in, but here I am.”
Once she determined that she wanted to study elementary education, Fountain began searching for colleges that would help her meet her goals. It was her father who suggested that she look at WVU.
“WVU matched everything I wanted in a school,” Fountain said. “I wanted a school that people were proud of and where people wanted to be.”
Now steeped in her elementary education courses at CEHS, Fountain is certain that she’s right where she’s supposed to be. This past year, she had her first field placement in Shinnston, W.Va., and felt at home in the classroom.
“I got to work with all these kids, and being called Ms. Fountain was the coolest thing,” Fountain said. “It was so surreal.”
Through these observation hours, Fountain was able to integrate herself in the classroom and gain hands-on experience, including teaching her students a mini-lesson.
“I just tried to soak up as much information as possible while I was there,” Fountain said.
Outside of her coursework, Fountain teaches swimming lessons through the University. This past summer, worked as a New Student Orientation leader for the first time, giving her the opportunity to introduce the next generation of Mountaineers to the University she’s grown to love.
“When I went through NSO, it seemed like a fun way to help people enjoy the upcoming year,” Fountain said. “I wanted to share my love of the university with incoming freshmen who might not be sure about it yet.”
Fountain’s advice for incoming education students is to appreciate the significance of their future as teachers.
“Education is worth it,” Fountain said. “Don’t discredit yourself or be disheartened based on what other people think about it.”