Katie Hashimoto

Energy and Environmental Conservation Supervisor (Contemporary Studies, BA and Education, BEd)

Katie Hashimoto, Grand Erie District School Board

For concurrent education (ConEd) students, a traditional teaching job is the most pursued avenue. Katie Hashimoto, a 2009 Laurier Brantford Concurrent Education graduate, entered the program with an interest in teaching and enjoyed her practicum placements. The traditional route, however, is far from the direction she took. Katie encourages the ConEd students, especially those considering an alternative teaching career, to explore their options, as she did. Katie complimented her education courses with environmental ones, which sparked her interest. She also became deeply involved on campus, holding senior positions in various clubs and groups, such as Laurier Students for Literacy and the Historical Movie Society, as well as working in the Dean’s Office.

Upon graduation, Katie began a six month contract with the Grand Erie District School Board, working on two key projects: the implementation of a recycling program and waste auditing. With her proactive and hard-working spirit, Katie went above and beyond her assigned projects and in 2011 was hired on as a permanent staff member. Over the past few years she has taken on more responsibilities, such as water management (sampling and conservation programs), energy management (monitoring consumption and conservation programs) and event planning. Importantly, she is also running environmental education programs – giving classroom and assembly presentations and working with school eco-teams.

Katie remarks that “she never anticipated that there would be a job to connect her big passions”. She is able to work on projects that she cares about deeply, and still have her “teaching fix” satisfied, as she goes into schools and spends time with the students. She enjoys the flexibility and variety that her current job gives her.

Katie encourages ConEd students to take advantage of their fourth year alternative placement, given that it provides a great opportunity to discover teaching and education beyond being the traditional every-day classroom teacher. “There are so many alternative jobs and placements in which people can use their teaching degrees in different ways,” she says. “Take advantage of current trends!” She also recommends the development of academic skills, saying that “they are more important than you think”. Katie, for example, finds many of her skills such as academic reading, writing and oral communication, to be central to her job, as she speaks to groups and does grant writing to raise money for environmental programs.

Katie describes her job as “fun, but challenging,” especially because she had to learn a lot (e.g. boilers and water systems). Overall, everything relates back to her key mantra, which is to keep environmental education going and make sure that schools are healthy and safe for students. Her hard work and determination shine as the key to her success.