As Southern Utah University’s College of Education Valedictorian for the Class of 2016, Kelli Christensen is humbled and honored to represent “the helping college”, as she coins it. Comprised of education and exercise science majors, Christensen’s main priority of learning in the College of Education is focused on teaching and serving others.
Majoring in Family Life and Human Development with an emphasis in family services, Christensen hopes to work in early intervention with children and families.
“I believe the greatest changes and growth can take place in the home,” says Christensen. “Anyone can be a successful parent if they are taught the proper skills and tools.”
Falling in love with the SUU campus in high school, this St. George native is proud to be a Thunderbird. The beautiful scenes surrounding Southern Utah University captured her interest, but the final decision was made when she realized how involved the professors are in student education and opportunities for growth.
She never realized how important this interaction with a professor is in education before coming to Cedar City for school. Being helped to narrow down her options in education and feeling like she was heard from her advisor are some of the things Christensen values from her undergraduate mentors.
Heather Ogden, SUU Lead Student Success Advisor and one of Christensen’s professors, says that Kelli stood out on first impressions due to her enthusiasm, communication skills and professional demeanor.
“Kelli is excited about learning,” says Ogden. “She always goes the extra mile and it is reflected in everything she does. Kelli is reliable, persistent and eternally upbeat and demonstrates perseverance and passion for long-term goals.”
In the future Christensen anticipates a variety of opportunities, including a possible humanitarian trip to Nepal with HELP International. But most of all, Christensen looks forward to the day she can mother her own children and employ the skills she has learned during her education at SUU.
“I plan on continuing to study on my own after graduation,” she says. “Learning is my favorite. I love school a lot, but my greatest goal in life is to be a mom and raise my children the best I can.”
Christensen will be honored April 30 at 2 pm in the Centrum Arena during the college’s convocation.