Luke and Jaime McLellan's Story
Going back to make a difference
High school teacher goes back to school to learn how to help the people of Haiti. He finds his wife along the way.
A trip to Haiti and a passion for social justice led high school teacher Luke McLellan to head back to school to pursue a master's degree.
"I felt helpless when I got back from Haiti," Luke says, frustrated with its poverty and lack of opportunity. "I decided then that I wanted to go back to school to learn how to help the people of Haiti in a more effective manner."
After researching many colleges, Luke enrolled at the KU Edwards Campus. "I found the global and international studies graduate program best fit my interests," Luke says.
As a world religion teacher at Rockhurst High School, Luke says one of the best benefits from class is how he can introduce the topics he learns at the Edwards Campus the very next day to his students. "My program allows me to develop a deeper understanding of how the world works, which enables me to become a better teacher."
Another benefit Luke discovered was getting to know people who share his passion for learning. One person in particular who understands this passion is his wife Jaime, whom Luke met in his first class. Even though Luke and Jaime did not talk a lot at first, they started e-mailing at work after running into each other on campus. The couple was engaged by the next summer!
Jaime works for the Army as an operations research analyst, which requires her to enroll in a master's degree program. Unknowingly, just like Luke, Jaime also decided to pursue the global and international studies program because its flexibility perfectly fits into her busy lifestyle as a working professional.
"The professors are so understanding in terms of my work schedule. I often have to travel last minute and it is never an issue, which is extremely important to me," Jaime says.
The couple encourages those who are on the fence about going back to school to take the initiatives to learn more about the programs.
"One of the most beneficial aspects of the program is the different individuals you meet," Jaime says. "You can rely on both students and professors if you need assistance."
Jaime feels it has been beneficial to go through the same program with Luke at the same time. "It leads to some very interesting discussions."
In the future, Luke would love to teach the senior year program at Rockhurst High School, which focuses on social justices. He hopes to begin his doctorate at KU upon completion of his master's degree and plans to go back to Haiti with Jaime to lead medical and dental teams.