Along the Columbia River at the border between Washington and Oregon sits a small town called Camas. Nicole Loewen grew up in this city that is a few hundred miles away from Bellingham, but when she decided that she wanted to attend college, she knew that Western Washington University was where she would pursue her undergrad in Spanish-Elementary Education. Through various accreditations and an excellent reputation, Western has one of the top Elementary Education Programs in the state of Washington, which was one of the main reasons Loewen decided to become a Viking. Even though Loewen is only 19 years old, she has accumulated enough credits to be considered a senior, and she will be starting her student teaching winter of 2018.
In high school, Loewen developed an interest for the Spanish language. Loewen describes her passion for the language saying “I found that I was passionate about it and always looked for opportunities to learn more about the culture, travel, and practice speaking Spanish.” Unlike most students her age, Loewen already has relevant work experience in her field. During her senior year of high school, she volunteered at a preschool where she taught Spanish once a week. Now Loewen wants to make a difference after she graduates by addressing the current shortage of bilingual elementary school teachers. She hopes that with her Spanish speaking skills, she can assist Spanish-speaking students as they proceed through the education system, “Spanish is a growing language in the United States, and we do not have enough bilingual elementary school teachers to provide these children with equitable learning opportunities. I want to be part of this change. I hope to make a difference in the Spanish-speaking community.”
Not only is Loewen a busy student but she also works as a nanny. Loewen nannies for two families in the Bellingham area that she found off the Student Employment web page. Working as a nanny for young families requires skills that are used when teaching elementary education, which is another reason why Loewen feels more than ready to start her career. Furthermore, Loewen’s favorite hobby is to work out with her best friend, “We come up with workout plans, go to the rec center and work hard! It’s very mental for me. It is a great way that I relieve stress and become more focused for homework.” Loewen’s favorite memory at Western was at the beginning of freshmen year when the University was welcoming her incoming class with a firework show. Lastly, ELED 370 was Loewen’s favorite class at Western because she had the opportunity to teach lessons once a week and learn from actual teachers.
Faces of WWU is a series of interviews in which we get to learn about different people at Western as they tell us about themselves, their time here and their hopes for the future.