What’s a California girl doing in Iowa?
Kara Langan came for an education — and stayed to make a life for herself.
The genetics program at Iowa State University drew Langan to Iowa but, by the time she changed majors to education, she had already fallen in love with the place.
“I liked Iowa too much to leave when I decided to switch majors,” she says.
So this California native is putting down her own roots in Iowa. And it’s not completely foreign soil. Her grandparents grew up in South Dakota before moving west decades ago. It was much to their surprise that she returned to the Midwest.
Langan graduated from high school in Sacramento, California in 2010 and promptly headed to Ames to begin her studies at Iowa State. But while she started out in genetics, she says the switch to early childhood education and special education is actually not that different.
“Originally I wanted to do genetic counseling, and I wanted to work with families who have children with disabilities to get them prepared for that,” she explains. “In early childhood education, I am working with families to help them get the most out of everything they do.”
In many respects, her original studies in genetics focused on the academic side of things, while her degree in early childhood education and special education focuses on the practical application of the same school of thought.
Now in her first year teaching at Boone’s Lincoln School, Langan is in mainstream classroom, working with students of all levels and abilities. She teaches preschool and optional kindergarten.
“I love how excited they get about everything,” she says of the kids who range from 3 years old at the start on up to 5 years old. “They are willing to try anything new. They are so excited to put their hands on something different every day or just to sing songs and have fun.”
As for her first year of teaching, Langan, who also student taught in Boone and Des Moines, says it couldn’t be a better experience.
“I am loving it,” Langan says. “The kids and families that I get interact with every day are wonderful. The faculty at Lincoln is fantastic. I can ask them anything and they are willing to help.”