Featured Grad: Ryleigh Gebers '21
Hometown: Lincoln, NE
Organizations involved in at Doane: Chi Delta sorority and working at the Writing Center
First off — congratulations on reaching graduation! How do you feel as you head into the next phase of your life?
I’m excited to be done and stepping into a new part of my life. I do feel stressed about the uncertainty of the future, but I know that everything will work out eventually.
What’s your next step after graduation?
I plan to take some grad classes with the education department this summer and I have a job as a peer counselor with COVID Recovery Iowa that I will continue with during the summer. After that I’m not sure. I’m an alternate for both Fulbright and JET, so there’s a possibility that I could be teaching in either Bulgaria or Japan next year. Since that isn’t a guarantee, I will continue searching for local teaching jobs to see if anything opens up or possibly spend time subbing in LPS.
How has attending Doane prepared you for your next steps?
The ed program at Doane has really helped me to understand so many parts of the application and interview process for teaching. They gave us many resources and timelines for each step of the process. I’m also really grateful for all of the help I’ve received with my applications for JET and Fulbright, which Kristen Hetrick helped me start the process of last year, and Josh Pope has continued to help me with, including feedback for my essays and setting up mock interviews.
What do you consider to be the best part of your Doane experience?
I think the best part of my Doane experience was the opportunity I had to study abroad in Japan for a semester. I’ve always wanted to travel, and being in the Honors program allowed me to do that while also earning credit for my degree.
What will you miss the most about being a Doane student?
I’m going to miss seeing so many familiar faces. It’s been hard not seeing as many people this year with remote learning and me living off campus, and it really made me realize how much I had grown to love the Doane community that comes from having students excited to be here and faculty and staff who really care about us.
Who was a major influence for you during your education here, and how have they helped you?
One of my biggest influences has to be my English advisor, Katy Hanggi. She’s helped me grow so much as a writer and really expanded my knowledge on literature beyond just America and Britain. I feel like I’ll be able to take a lot of what I learned in her classes into my own future classroom. Another person who was really supportive of me during my time at Doane was Caitie Leibman, who used to be the Writing Center director. She built a strong sense of community in the Writing Center staff and made us feel like we were accomplishing something with our work.
What is something you’re proud of achieving or accomplishing while at Doane?
I’m really proud of being an alternate for JET and Fulbright. Even if I don’t get to teach with either program, it’s still an honor to even be considered for them.
What advice would you give to incoming students?
Enjoy your time while you are here, make friends and make memories. You’ll be graduating before you know it.
Finishing a degree is tough to begin with, but especially so in 2020 and 2021 — what has helped you overcome the challenges of the past three semesters?
I really struggled with being remote, especially because I was living at home and didn’t have much personal space to do my work on my own time. I found that having some kind of meeting or deadline set up where I had to talk to other people or submit something, even if it wasn’t a finished product, forced me to be more accountable. It’s easy to lose track of time when every day feels like the same thing over and over, but breaking up that cycle with a phone call or a Zoom meeting can help snap you out of it.
Finally — what are you most excited about for your future?
I’m excited to see where life takes me next. I don’t have a teaching job lined up at the moment, but I really want to teach in some capacity, whether that’s abroad or in LPS or in a smaller district nearby. Wherever I end up, I just want to make a positive impact on those around me.