As a student, Hermanson attended Shabbat dinners every Friday night at KU Hillel during her four years. She also served on the freshman board, went on KU Hillel’s Taglit-Birthright Israel trip and was a part of Bina, a semester long class to discuss and explore Israel.
“KU Hillel was a home away from home, even though I was only 45 minutes away from my parents,” Hermanson said. “I celebrated Shabbat every Friday night with my family before college, and I was able to continue this tradition while at KU because of Hillel. Hillel made me realize how important it was/is to surround myself with Jewish individuals.”
Currently, Hermanson lives in Overland Park and has been working at Bonner Springs Elementary School for the past 4 years. She works in a general education classroom and has students with a variety of disabilities in her room. Hermanson also works closely with the special education staff and she also incorporates IEP goals into the classroom while teaching the general education curriculum to her general education students.
Hermanson said she loves going to work everyday knowing that she will impact a child’s life and feels that she is making a difference.
“Some of my students come from a low socioeconomic background where the means to make them successful just aren’t there. Students come to my classroom looking to succeed and need my guidance to support them to make them successful.”
Recently, Hermanson has accepted a position as an Inter-Related Resource (Special Education) Teacher at Stilwell Elementary School starting this fall. “I am also three classes away from getting a second master’s degree in Functional Special Education. With this degree, I would be working with students who have disabilities that need more of the life skills to be successful.”
In her spare time, Hermanson teaches Sunday School at B’nai Jehudah Synagogue. “I grew up in a conservative synagogue, but as I was trying to find my Jewish identity through college and into professional life, I realized I related and felt more comfortable in a reform setting. By teaching Sunday school at B’nai Jehudah, I feel like I am able to be part of the Jewish community every week and not just during the High Holidays.”
Hermanson said that Carly Stein, KU Hillel’s Director of Development, has helped her to stay involved with the Jewish community at KU by alerting her of upcoming events for alumni and donating to the organization that helped shape her college career.
Hermanson also hosts monthly Shabbat dinners with her friends in the Kansas City area. “I have an amazing group of friends in the Kansas City area that happen to all be Jewish. I also have a Jewish boyfriend, which I have found to be extremely important, something I would have not said a few years ago. For me, since I am not involved in any of the formal Jewish organizations, at this point in my life, in the Kansas City area, having Jewish friends has maintained my Jewish identity.”