Mrs. Rasmussen: The Thankless Job

Dillon Huselton, Staff Writer

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Kelsey Rasmussen walks into her classroom at 7:20 A.M. Four of her senior design students are already patiently waiting out in the hallway making small talk. After some small talk about the weekend and recent scientific news, she sits at her desk and begins working. Her students are working in a self led environment, so Rasmussen has some time to work on upcoming lesson plans for her numerous engineering classes. Her eyes only break away from her laptop to guide senior design back on topic. Mrs. Rasmussen is affable, intelligent, and bubbly, but most of all she forms a personal connection with her students. Many students in the engineering program are very familiar with her innovative style of teaching which puts practical knowledge and skills over worksheets and memorization. There is still a fair bit of worksheets and memorization, but she uses these tactics to teach practical engineering  skills. There is also a fair amount of labs and projects that teach using the learn by doing method.

 

Mrs. Rasmussen has spearheaded Erie High School’s engineering program. She teaches Intro to Engineering, a class that focuses on teaching the fundamentals of the engineering and design process. It is the first step in the engineering pathway. The engineering pathway is comprised of four required classes and five classes total, the pathway is shown below.

Introduction to Engineering Design –> AP® Computer Science Principles –> Aerospace Engineering –> Senior Design 

The pathway ends with the Senior Design class which focuses on a student led environment. By the time a student has reached the Senior Design class they have built quite a repertoire with Mrs. Rasmussen. There is a trust between Mrs. Rasmussen and her students that has been shown time and time again. Not many other teachers have students make orange soda to teach dimensional analysis, and not many other teachers have her senior design students be the guinea pigs for said soda.

Mrs. Rasmussen has worked very hard to build the engineering program to where it is today. Unfortunately, the job that she does is fairly unthanked. That is why this feature is being written, to shine a light on the unthanked job of spearheading a program that gets lost in the fog of high school. Mrs. Rasmussen has had support building this program from other teachers like Ms. Fox and Mr. Borealis. Mrs. Rasmussen has been an inspiration for many aspiring engineers, I have had the good graces of being one of said engineers. Andrew Jordan was inspired by her ability to keep even the rowdiest kids on task. I am personally inspired by her determination and strong work ethic.

 

Many students appreciate her honesty and commitment to their engineering future. Bekah Weigand appreciates her perseverance in times of hardship.

Jack Williamson noted that Mrs. Rasmussen changes up her curriculum by planning and organizing various field trips to encourage critical thinking skills in her students. Mrs. Rasmussen has encouraged thinking critically and making mistakes.

 

All in all Mrs. Rasmussen’s job is not an easy one or a highly appreciated one, but it is one that she does with pride and dignity. So I speak on behalf of Erie when I say thank you.