UACCM Drafting Instructor Puts Students First — My UACCM Story

woman instructs at board with students in foreground
Drafting Instructor Kristen Karetov
UACCM Drafting Instructor Kristen Karetov, also a UACCM graduate, has a jam-packed schedule with classes and her role as faculty sponsor of several student organizations. Her commitment to students' success is one reason that makes UACCM a great college.

Tell us a little bit about drafting. What about it do you like the most?

The easiest way to explain drafting is when we take our ideas and put them onto paper so that someone can create them. I love watching a student look at a part that needs drawn and then seeing them figure out exactly how to draw it, or designing a home and seeing them perfect it on Revit. I also love how versatile drafting is. In one graduating class I can have a student going to an architectural firm, a civil engineering firm, manufacturing facility, interior design firm, or a telecommunications company. There are jobs all over the United States looking for the skills a person gains in this drafting program.

What got you into teaching the field of drafting?

Fate. I worked at a couple different locations for about 5 years as a drafter before teaching and one day I got a message from a former drafting instructor, Rachel Schell, who said that UACCM was looking for a new instructor and that she thought I would be a good candidate. I seriously thought that there was no way I would get the job, but I knew that I needed something in my life where I could help people so I took a chance and applied for the position. After two wonderful years I am still here! I’ll be forever grateful to Rachel for having the faith in me that I didn’t have in myself.

Tell us your favorite things about the UACCM drafting program?

The variety of students I get always amazes me. I get a lot of nontraditional students in my classroom, but also fresh out of high school students. I love watching them work together and communicating with each other because that is how life works. There will always be people who you have absolutely nothing in common with that you need to work with to get something done. I also like that we get to do so much! We go on tours of potential work locations, we are starting to get into 3D printing, we draw houses that show off the creativity of the students, and build things on our 3D modeling software that many of my students initially think can never actually happen. Seeing students develop their problem-solving skills is a wonderful thing for a teacher.

As an active faculty member who sponsors several student organizations, what’s your favorite thing about getting students involved?

Seeing them succeed and growing into themselves! Take SkillsUSA; we go to a competition every April for the students who are most active in that club. We never know how many other students will be there from other schools. The 2-day competition is nerve-wracking for me, but especially my students. They take the competition seriously and always try their hardest. The awards day is the day that we get to see how well we did on the drawings. Last year I had 2 students in the technical drafting competition. There were about 10 students all together from post-secondary. My students took 1st and 3rd place. The amount of pride I had in that moment and seeing the look of pure joy, excitement, and shock cross the faces of those students when they heard their names was remarkable. 

What’s your favorite thing about being in the UACCM faculty?

I have always felt like I belonged here. I can walk into any building on this campus and get a warm smile and wave. People are so nice and helpful here and I have enjoyed making lifelong friends out of my colleagues.

Before you joined the faculty, you were a UACCM graduate. Why did you choose to attend UACCM?

I chose UACCM when I finished high school at Perryville because I had never gone to a large school and wanted to go to a medium-size school before jumping into UCA (which was unfathomably HUGE to me.) The affordable price and scholarship UACCM offered me helped to solidify that decision for me. After I finished my AS in Business I transferred to UCA and quickly realized that neither business nor UCA was for me. I transferred back to UACCM after doing some soul searching to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. After deciding on drafting, I came back and I have never regretted it!

Any advice to current students?

Make friends, talk to your teachers, and be active. You never know what life will throw your way. In my case, I was not looking for a new job. A new job found me because I made sure to stay in contact with people from my time at UACCM. Who you know can help you if you build that bridge of communication.

Anything else you wish to add?

I love the relationships that I have built with my students. Seeing someone in a classroom for two years can allow you to get to know them and learn who they are and what their goals in life are. My students and I communicate daily and have a great time doing so. Watching a student who had never drafted anything before learn the way to do it and then put something on paper is inspiring. People don’t always realize that.

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