IB Graduate to IB Staff: Emily Unrue
To get the blog started, I have done a spotlight on a few of the IB staff members in the Americas office who are also IB graduates.
Emily did the IB Diploma Programme at Lawrence D. Bell High School in Hurst, TX, USA, graduating in 2004. She was in the school’s first cohort of students.
- How did the IB function in your school? The IB was brand new the year I began. We started out with about 55 students (out of 650 students) in my grade level who enrolled in the IB Diploma classes. We graduated about 30 or so of those students, which is not too bad for a first cohort.
- How did you feel about the IB while you were doing it? I thought that the rigor and effort was well worth it. I would have taken all AP classes anyway, but I liked the holistic approach that IB offered. Without the IB, I probably would have pursued a less balanced course load, and I definitely wouldn’t have pursued the same community service ethic that I did with the CAS hours.
- What was your favorite undertaking that you did for CAS? I went on a service project to Moscow, TN to clean up after the devastation of a tornado that had ripped through this small, rural town. I still remember this one lady’s house which had extensive water damage. We helped her sort through items, and she told us some very interesting stories about her past while shuffling through old pictures.
- Was your decision to attend your university based at all upon your IB experience, and/or the way that university regarded the IB? The IB was not largely recognized (like AP was), even at an enormous state university in a state where IB has a strong presence. However, I know that this has started to change because my younger brother, who is 8 years behind me in school, is also an IB graduate and benefited from the groundwork that my friends and I did when we were students. We advocated to our academic advisors and transfer credit centers for increased curriculum review and won a few battles. Since then, A&M has ALWAYS granted credit for that course to any IB student coming through the doors who scores a sufficient mark on their exam.
- What is your position at the IB? Professional Development Associate with Regional Professional Development.
- What is it like working at the IB as an IB graduate? It’s interesting seeing the IB from an inside perspective. In many ways, it gives me a lot of appreciation and respect for the teachers and educators in my community who so passionately fought to bring the IB to my district because of their desire to see such a strong and well respected programme in our community.
- Do you have any advice for current or future IB students? Take advantage of TOK. Looking back now, I wish I had diverted more attention to the studies and readings we did for that class. It’s fascinating stuff. Things I find so interesting now, I wish I could tell my younger self that this is an amazing opportunity to actually get classroom credit to think deeply about relevant questions.