Kristi M. Kamps of Portland Named USM’s Outstanding Senior

Kristi M. Kamps, self-portrait

Kristi M. Kamps, self-portrait

Not many students achieve a perfect 4.0 average, but Kristi M. Kamps has done just that after an over 30-year hiatus from pursuing her bachelor’s degree. The University of Southern Maine honored Kamps by naming her USM’s 2010 Outstanding Senior.  She was also named the 2010 Outstanding Communication Scholar by USM’s College of Arts and Sciences. She will be recognized during USM’s 130th Commencement taking place Saturday, May 15, in the Cumberland County Civic Center.

This mother of two dropped out of the University of Wisconsin LaCrosse, where she was studying early childhood and art education, and jumped into a corporate marketing career that many would envy. After first working in New York City, Kamps moved to Maine and continued in marketing, working for the likes of G.H. Bass & Co., Angela Adams, and Thomas Moser Cabinetmakers.

Laid off from Moser, she came to USM intending to earn a bachelor’s in communication to aid in her search for a position doing values-driven marketing in the nonprofit or education sectors.  But, after volunteering at Portland’s Reiche Elementary School in both a second-grade ESL class and a fifth-grade class, she remembered her long-lost love of education, and applied to enter USM’s Extended Teacher Education Program (ETEP) next fall.

In ETEP, Kamps will become certified to teach elementary school.  Her husband, Nathaniel Highstein, who holds an M.F.A. degree and has taught at the college level, will join her in ETEP where he earn certification to teach high school math.

The University of Southern Maine (USM) offers its nearly 10,000 students more than 115 areas of undergraduate and graduate study. USM’s location in southern Maine, a region cited as one of the most liveable in the country, offers a range of educational, cultural and recreational opportunities.

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