Math, Music and Ministry

Posted by Paula Paine on February 2, 2014 in "Academic Programs", Community, "Current Students", "School of Education", "The College", "Your OU"

No one could accuse Senior Kirsten Hansen (left) of getting stuck in a rut. In fact, she thrives on being involved in multiple and very different activitKirsten Hansen1ies. At Smoky Valley High School in Lindsborg, Kansas, she participated in three sports, six music related groups and three clubs. Within the community, she was also involved in Swedish Folk Dancers, Youth Group, Church Choir, Broadway RFD, and the Messiah festival.

Hansen’s love of being involved in community helped bring her to Ottawa University. “I loved the sense of community I felt when I visited campus,” she says. Her high level of involvement in high school paid off for her, too, helping her receive OU academic and orchestra scholarships, as well as community scholarships from organizations in Lindsborg.

As she studies to earn a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Ottawa University, Hansen continues to lead and participate in many activities, but three have emerged as her focus – math, music and ministry. She is president of the Math Club and Sigma Alpha, as well as a leader of a women’s bible study group and the campus ministry Braving Discipleship. She is also resident chaplain of Martin Hall and participates in CFA, intramurals, orchestra, choir, and jazz singers.

“Music has always been a part of my life, and I was excited to see its growth over the time that I would be at OU,” she says. Campus ministries also came into focus during her freshman year, when she was significantly impacted by the campus ministries department. “I was able to see youth come on fire for Christ at Braving Discipleship,” she says.

In her time at Ottawa University, Hansen has gained knowledge and valuable experience that will benefit her in her desired career as a secondary mathematics teacher. Mathematics came easily to Hansen at the high school level, but she found math to be considerably more challenging in college, starting with Calculus II. She recognized that these struggles could help her relate to her future students and the frustration that they may encounter with understanding math at the secondary level. “I never felt that challenge in my secondary schooling, but as I worked my way through upper-division mathematics, I was able to feel the disappointment and frustration of misunderstanding, but also the reward of a successful perseverance,” Hansen says.

Hansen has been inspired by family, teachers, coaches, friends, and community members throughout her life. Her former math teachers inspired Hansen to teach secondary mathematics after she obtains her degree. Two professors at Ottawa University have also had a notable impact on her. OU Orchestra Director Dr. Steven McDonald’s passion for music inspired Hansen to invest in the music she performs, and Professor Annette Blecha inspired Hansen with the way that she cares for her students. “She has been such an excellent example of the educator I hope to be,” says Hansen, who is currently completing her student teaching in preparation for entering the classroom.