Katie Sierega Alumni Profile
First Year Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher Lands 3 Grants for Classroom Success
In May of 2017, Katie Sierega not only received a bachelor's degree in Family and Consumer Sciences and a minor in Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS), but was also named Outstanding Senior of the Year in the Family and Consumer Sciences Education (FSCE) program.
Two months later, Katie began teaching at Cherry Creek High School in Greenwood Village, Colorado. She is currently a Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) teacher and a Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) Advisor. She teaches four semester-long courses: food & nutrition, contemporary relationships, fashion/interior/culinary design and fashion design I.
Within her first year of teaching, Katie applied for and received three separate grants for her classroom. Katie's momentum didn't slow there, she took 17 students to the Colorado State FCCLA Conference, where 14 students placed in the top two and advanced to nationals. One of her students was chosen as State Second Vice President. She also traveled with nine students to Atlanta, Georgia, where the students competed at the national level. She now has 90 FCCLA members and a new FCS course.
At the beginning of her second year of teaching, Katie proposed a new course, fashion design I, to a board of administrators. With a unanimous vote, the course was approved.
"While attending Texas Tech, I worked at the FCS Curriculum Center as a student assistant. This gave me access to the online curriculum, which helped me tremendously with my proposal. While I was intimidated to go up and propose the course to my administrators and coordinators, I felt very prepared with the help of the Curriculum Center at Texas Tech!"
The Curriculum Center for Family and Consumer Sciences offers online curriculum materials for thirty-six FCS courses, additional print resources, and over 150 DVDs. The Curriculum Center Library allows faculty to rent the space out as a classroom and provides students with several books and resources that may be checked out. The center aims to teach students how to design curriculum needed for their future classroom.
Katie had originally declared Early Childhood Education as her major, however, she quickly realized elementary education was not the right fit for her. She contacted her academic advisor and explained her desire to teach high school students and classes such as child development and interior design.
"She pulled out a sheet of paper that was titled, 'Family and Consumer Sciences Education.' This paper listed 33 courses that I could teach in high school including interior design, fashion, child development, etc. My eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. It was exactly what I had in mind. I knew right away that this was the right major."
Although it was hard for Katie to switch her major to FCS halfway through her junior year, she says she would do it all over again. Her experience better prepared her to help students discover early on what they do and do not like.
"I want them to discover now what they don't like, so they don't go to college and discover it when they are thousands of dollars in debt like I did."
Contributing to curriculum development and resume building opportunities are some of Katie's favorite aspects of the FCSE program. She says she would recommend Family and Consumer Sciences Education to everyone because it not only prepares students for college but the workforce as well.
"FCS teachers are getting students in the kitchen, behind the sewing machine, to the design board, into daycare and elementary schools. We are helping students fall in love with these careers. We are building their resumes with internships, shadowing and work experiences. We are changing these kids' lives!"
The College of Human Sciences' Family and Consumer Sciences Education program has changed Katie's life in many ways. She says her professors taught by example with enthusiasm, something Katie feels is important to incorporate in her own classroom. FCSE professors encouraged her to reach every learning style and need in each lesson. The program also emphasized the importance of using resources wisely and reaching out for support.
"The best part about the FCSE program is that you are not just another student. You are family. You can not go unrecognized in this program. The professors know you from the inside out and are there to help you at all hours of the day. They want you to be successful – not just up until graduation – but until the end of your career!"