Emma McLaughlin May Duhawk Dozen

A Life of Teaching and Travel

Emma McLaughlin (’21)
Elementary Education and Spanish
Des Moines, Iowa

When her father asked if she would like to tour Loras College during her college search, Emma McLaughlin (’21) agreed mainly to make Bill McLaughlin (’90) happy. Little did she know that she would be opening the doors to the place she would call home for the next few years. It’s where she fell in love with teaching and traveling, taking her from the banks of the Mississippi to the coasts of Argentina and Spain. All this and more make Emma our May 2024 Duhawk Dozen.

Upon arriving at Loras, Emma was open to exploring what she called ‘helping professions’ such as psychology and social work. However, she soon discovered that education was the right fit for her. “Education is where I found myself most comfortable. Loras has a great program that helped me get different endorsements and prepared me for life in the classroom.”

From the beginning, the Loras Education program focuses on getting students into classrooms in both public and private settings while preparing them with the fundamentals and beyond. After staying in Dubuque as a substitute teacher during the spring of 2021, Emma saw another Duhawk teaching abroad through a program called the North American Language and Cultural Program (NALCAP). She sent a simple Instagram message asking, “How did you move there, and how are you working there?” A few short months later, Emma found herself in Spain teaching English. “I was always interested in traveling and experiencing the world, and it seemed like the perfect timing with my contract in Dubuque ending. I saw this as the perfect opportunity before really settling down and planting roots while also getting more teaching experience.”

After her year abroad, Emma resides in Des Moines and is approaching the end of her first year teaching second grade. “I love forming relationships with my students. I feel like I know each of them so well, having spent so much time together.” She is grateful to interact with them and share laughs at such an important age in their lives. “I am constantly reminded of the instructional methods Dr. David Salyer taught us and am forever grateful for my Loras education. Dr. Hilarie Welsh was also incredibly eye-opening to so many issues and positives in education, so I have her to thank as well for the teacher I am today.”

Emma’s adaptability and dedication to her students are what make her our May Duhawk Dozen. Learn more about her Loras experience and young teaching career by listening to this month’s podcast! Congratulations, Emma!

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