Katherine Marie Aveline was nominated as a GEM for her ability to lead and always go above and beyond for her students. Marie is a lead instructor for the online MA program. She was recently asked to work with a student who was struggling in her classes. While working with this student, Marie discovered that the student needed an IEP as she was not able to read or comprehend well. After addressing this to several staff members, she offered to take time to personally work with the student up through graduation as she expressed the desire for her to do so. Due to Marie stepping up and advocating for the student, she was able to pass the class and she will be able to graduate on time. Marie’s ability to empower and advocate for students helps them believe in themselves more and it changes their attitude and mindset about what they believe is possible for them.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
So I started with Ross in 2000 as an instructor at the Lafayette, Indiana campus. Then in 2017, after earning my bachelor’s degree, I did the online associate MA program. In 2018, I became the lead instructor for the MA program. Then the MA hybrid program kicked off, and I was there for that whole process. Most of the people had gone to the associate program and I stuck with the hybrid program. This year I expanded my responsibilities a little bit and took on more things. I have my associate courses that I teach and I’m a team lead. All of the MA hybrid instructors are now on my team as well. Aside from my career, I have five kids ranging from the ages of 25-32, as well as 10 grandchildren. I was a stay at home mom for a long time until my youngest child grew up and encouraged me to go find my own passions and hobbies, so I decided to go into the medical field. Another thing about me is that I really love animals. My family and I live in the middle of nowhere and we have a lot of land, so we’ve always had a lot of animals. We currently have five dogs, three cats, a snake, and a bearded dragon.
What led you to Ross? Have you always been in healthcare or was Ross your first job in healthcare?
Well, for most of my adult life I was a stay at home mom. Then when my youngest son got his driver’s license, he was like, “Mom, I really don’t need you to stay with me anymore. Why don’t you go get a hobby.” So I decided to go back to school. I was always interested in healthcare, but at that point in my life I didn’t want to do nursing, so I decided to do medical assisting instead. After graduating college, I worked as a medical assistant several years back, as well as in career services for a nursing college in Lafayette where I graduated. The Lafayette campus did reach out to me. I was on medical leave for a while, but I was contacted with an opportunity to teach. I had never taught before, but I decided to take the opportunity and I’ll tell you the funniest story because nobody ever let live it down. When I first started, I was given the task of creating a lesson plan on the cardiovascular system and I had to go in and teach it to the administrators of the campus and there was a classroom full of students. I was so nervous. I didn’t realize until I was done and back in my car that I had two different colored shoes on! I was so embarrassed when I realized! I was like, “I’m so sorry to embarrass you like that.” They were like, “No, it was the funniest thing I have ever seen. You start on Monday, though.” So every time a new instructor came in to interview and was nervous like I was, they would bring them into my room and have me tell them my story.
How has your experience at Ross been so far? Do you have any memorable experiences or moments?
They’re all memorable for me. I mean I’m able to form close connections with most of my students. I have students that graduated long ago that I’m still in touch with. They reach out to me sometimes and they’re like, “Mrs. Marie, guess what I did!” They are proud of themselves and that makes me so happy. Right now I have a student in the associate program that I tutor, and when I started working with her she had a really low GPA. It was actually one of the most failed classes across the MA program. So I helped her as much as I possibly could and she successfully finished the course. She graduated from one of the campuses with a diploma and I mean during the 18 months, nobody picked up on the fact that she has a serious problem with reading comprehension. Once you’re in the associate program, you get a new instructor every five weeks, so oftentimes, instructors are not going to catch it that as easily. She got a higher grade than she thought she would get and she always thanks me for it, but I remind her that it was all her. She did this. It’s those little moments that really make my day. So yeah, it’s not one specific moment or experience that sticks out to me. It’s all of it.
Do you have any people that inspired you along the way? Any mentors?
Yes. Amy Ensign had a huge impact on me. She is probably one of the most patient and kind people that I know. She and I work very well together. She’s somebody that I can always depend on and she knows that when she needs something, she can always count on me. We just complement each other very well. I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for Amy.
What are some important lessons that you’ve learned so far?
One of the most important lessons I have learned is patience. I have learned that being patient with instructors, and just in general, the people around me, goes a long way.
I also learned the importance of appreciating the small wins instead of just waiting to celebrate the big ones. I share this with my students as well. If they get a passing grade on an assignment that was really difficult, that’s something that should be celebrated. It’s a small win that goes a long way. They shouldn’t wait to make sure that they pass the course in order to celebrate.
Another thing I learned was time management. I literally just finished my master’s degree on Sunday last week. I struggled the most this week because of finals and all of the pressure to finish strong. I planned on finishing with a 4.0 GPA and I did. It was kinda funny, though. As soon as I finished my master’s degree and I didn’t have any assignments looming over my head, I felt like everything was gonna fall into place and I thought my evenings were going to be free, but it seems like things started piling up even more. Now I’m just focusing on getting things organized, and I think once I get everything set up with my new schedule, it’ll be a lot less hectic.f
What advice would you give to students who want to pursue a similar path as you?
Just to never give up. I know it’s hard sometimes, and it’s so easy just to want to call it quits and say that it’s not worth it, but it’s important to not let the temporary problems affect you long term.
What are a few things that you wish you knew before going into the medical field?
So for the most part, I feel like I wasn’t too shocked when I entered the medical field. It was pretty much how I thought it would be. It was interesting actually. I’ve had health issues all my life and I’ve always been someone who does a lot of research, so I went into the medical field feeling like I know quite a bit. I felt like I was able to provide personal experience and advice.
What achievements are you proud of?
I have to say that the achievement that I am the most proud of is that my students are successful in their chosen field. That’s what I’m here for and that’s what I enjoy the most. When they come back after having success in their career and they tell me about it, I am always so happy for them. Same thing when they send me a picture of themselves in their scrubs after they get hired. That kind of stuff brings me so much joy because I know I’m making a great impact and it’s my purpose in life. I’m also proud of the patient care that I’ve provided in the past. My health has gotten to a point where I can no longer safely do patient care directly, but I can teach my students how to take care of their patients, and that also makes me feel really good.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell myself to not waste so much time after graduating high school. I wouldn’t have taken so much time to go from high school into the medical field. Not that I regret staying home with my kids, but it definitely would’ve made things easier and sped up the process in some ways.
A fun fact about you.
A fun fact about me is that I am an Elvis Presley fan and my favorite pet is the bearded dragon, so I bought my own bearded dragon and named him Presley.