Katie Lewandowski knows how to seize an opportunity and when opportunity seems bleak, she creates one of her own. A student athlete from her hometown in Union Beach NJ, Katie had a vision for her educational goals that began as early as four years old. A dream to become an Educator and to work with kids never wavered from her thought even when her path to her success seemed to change.

As a high school athlete, playing softball all four years, Katie made sure to focus heavily on her studies. She took classes that would prepare her early declaration of her major in childhood development. But even with keeping track with her passion, Katie had to readjust her plan when the unexpected tragedy of Hurricane Sandy affected her college goals. In October 2012, Katie’s father, a Fire Chief in her hometown, made the devastating call informing her family that their home was no longer standing. Her college funds set aside was now used to help rebuild the loss of their family home and personal belongings.

Following graduation, Katie enrolled in Brookdale Community College. There she continued setting milestones and took part in creating the first chapter of Sigma Kappa Delta, a national English Honor Society for two-year colleges. She also curated The Lending Library Project, a book-drive that brought in over 1,300 books to distribute to six campuses.  After completing her associate’s degree in two years, she enrolled at Kean with the help of student scholarships. “I immediately cried, because I am paying for college on my own and now, I can focus on my studies,” says Katie.

Katie has just finished her spring semester and is excited about the journey that is to come. Her goal is to graduate with her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education to become a teacher for preschool through third-grade students. She is now a member of the Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority and set to graduate in 2021.

“After graduation, I’m hoping to provide an inviting classroom environment that allows children to learn and explore every day, while continuing to find time to volunteer.”– Katie Lewandowski