"Very few people believe they can do what I’m doing, but they don’t take the first step. You'll never know what you can accomplish without trying first."
Kim Lally '14 thought she had her career and life all planned. It wasn't until she came to SAU - where she was encouraged to question and explore the world in every way possible - that her life changed for the better in so many ways.
Hometown: Vail, Iowa
Kim and her seven siblings grew up on a family farm and attended Catholic schools. Her older sister told her about St. Ambrose, and Kim decided to visit. "I loved it because I felt at home and I knew that there was nowhere else I wanted to be," she says. Kim had never traveled outside the country but chose to broaden her education by immersing herself in a new culture and community. Her junior year she studied abroad in Ecuador. "I thought that would be the only time in my life when I could go to another country." But really, it was just the beginning. Today, Kim is a middle and high school theatre teacher at Al Ekhlas International School in Mahboula, Kuwait.
What did you learn about yourself when you studied abroad?
"I discovered a whole new me. Everything I thought I knew about myself changed, and I really grew as a person. I recreated this image of who I wanted to be. It completely changed my whole life plan as well as how I perceived the world," she says. Through strong academics and life-changing experiences, St. Ambrose University challenges all students to realize their greatest potential.
How were you supported in achieving your goals?
At St. Ambrose, the relationships forged between students and faculty exist well beyond graduation. Kim wasn’t afraid to ask faculty for guidance or have a conversation and enjoy their company. "They were always more than willing to listen." In fact, after graduation - and before moving out of the country - Kim visited some of her former professors. Whether it is a professor or a peer, we are a community that walks with you throughout your education. We support your goals, then push you to go further, too, today and tomorrow.
How did SAU expand your career opportunities?
Kim’s newfound passion to explore and experience the world was noted by Associate Professor of Education Richard Robertson, PhD, who told Kim about an international job fair for educators. She considered going at first, then decided to try and find a local teaching position that fit her academic specialties. “When that failed, I attended the job fair and spent the weekend interviewing with about 15 schools. I had two job offers on the spot by Saturday morning with a few other promising perspectives." She signed on with a school in Bharain, and after five years of teaching there, accepted a position with the International School in Kuwait.
What is the value of your SAU education?
Kim learned a lot about herself at St. Ambrose and the role she could play in our wide, wonderful world. Her education, skills, and drive to experience life led to her dream job, and the opportunity to make a real mark on the next generation. “It’s challenging in a new way every day,” she says. “I’ve fallen in love with living and learning about cultures every day. It can be frustrating at times, but the advantages overwhelm the negatives as long as you keep an open mind,” she said.