Olivia Rigg, Physical Education

We are reaching out to students who are utilizing the UW–Madison School of Education Wisconsin Teacher Pledge program to pursue their goal of becoming an educator. Following is a Q&A with Olivia Rigg, who is an undergraduate student with our Department of Kinesiology.

Olivia RiggWhere are you from, and what brought you to UW–Madison? 

I am from Milton, Wisconsin, a small town located south of Madison. I was always drawn to UW–Madison because of the close proximity and great experiences with Badger athletics growing up. Both of my parents are alumni of the university, so I was excited to follow in their footsteps. I am currently a fifth-year student, majoring in kinesiology-exercise and movement science and physical education, with an adapted physical education concentration. 

What has been your most meaningful experience at UW–Madison?

My most meaningful experience at UW–Madison has been working with the Adapted Fitness program here with Tim Gattenby. I have worked with many clients throughout the last few years who have taught me more than many textbooks ever could. These clients come in with so many stories to tell and are constantly working to become stronger not only for themselves, but for everyone around them. Working with these clients has taught me that anyone can do anything, with the right support and imagination.

What class or professor has had the greatest impact on you, and why? 

It is difficult for me to name just one professor that has had a great impact on me. However, one professor was the main reason I chose to become a teacher. While in Kinesiology 325, a Group Development and Behavior Management class, I continuously saw Cindy Kuhrasch come in with a big smile, excited to see us. She has contagious energy, and it is impossible to not be in a good mood when you are with her. After a few weeks of classes with her, she inspired me to change my career path from health care to education. I realized while I was in her class that I wanted to be what she was for us, for other kids. I discovered that I had a passion for teaching and leading, and that I wanted to help students fall in love with movement while feeling accepted and included along the way. 

"I hope to show students that movement is not only good for us, but fun too, and that there are so many fun ways to live a healthy lifestyle." — Olivia Rigg

How did you hear about the Teacher Pledge, and what was your reaction?

I heard about the Teacher Pledge through an email communication from the School of Education, and I attended an informational meeting to learn more. At first I was thinking that there had to be a catch, or that it wouldn’t necessarily be for all students. But as I learned more and realized the meaning of the Teacher Pledge, I immediately called both my parents and told them I am staying in Wisconsin. I always wanted to teach in Wisconsin, but this solidified it for me while taking a significant weight off of my shoulders after choosing to do a fifth year here at UW.

How do you hope to make a difference as an educator in Wisconsin? 

I hope to help students realize all they are capable of. I hope to inspire students to try new things, explore what they are interested in, and always do their best. In physical education, I hope to show students that movement is not only good for us, but fun too, and that there are so many fun ways to live a healthy lifestyle. 

What are your future plans?

In the future, I hope to become an elementary physical education teacher in the Madison area, with goals to teach adapted physical education as well. I am excited to pursue a career in education and officially call myself a teacher.

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