Mayville State University is all about the people. I am honored to introduce you to one of those people, one of our many outstanding faculty members, Dr. Kelli Odden, Associate Professor of Education. Many who read this already know Kelli, but I’d like to help you learn more about the important role she plays at Mayville State University.

kelli_odden.jpgKelli was first introduced to Mayville State when she was 15 years old. Her dad, Jim LeClair, had been hired as the head football coach for the Comets. Moving to Mayville was their family’s 14th move, and Kelli was excited and nervous to start over again.

She said, “Little did I know at that time what my future would hold and the important role Mayville State would play in my life. As the daughter of the football coach, I cheered for the Comets football team, graduated from Mayville-Portland High School, and then decided to attend Mayville State University.”

Graduating with degrees in Early Childhood and Elementary Education afforded Kelli many opportunities in the field of education. She is happy that now she can use her educational experiences to better-prepare teacher candidates for the field of education.

Several years after graduating, Dr. Carol Enger offered Kelli an opportunity to work as an adjunct faculty member in the Early Childhood program at MSU. She jumped at the chance and several years later was hired as a full-time member of the faculty. She very much appreciates the opportunity given by Dr. Enger.

The courses Kelli teaches are varied in the areas of Early Childhood, Special Education, and Elementary Education, both online and on campus. She says it is an absolute thrill to interact with all students in classes, whether they are online or on campus. Kelli likes to watch the light bulb go on or observe students as they make connections and apply them with children in the classroom.

Odden is grateful for her colleagues. “Mayville State University has an amazing group of educators. We have the privilege of working together and supporting one another daily. I personally feel we are a well-oiled machine and I am forever indebted to each of my colleagues for their daily support and passion for education.”

She exclaims, “Students make my world go ’round!” In addition to teaching classes, Dr. Odden is the Student Education Association adviser. In this role, she is able to support, mentor, and observe Mayville State students as they take on leadership roles on campus and state committees. These opportunities lend to the growth of students as effective educators. “Our students show tireless enthusiasm for Mayville State and the education profession. I am so proud of each and every student!”

Throughout her career, Dr. Odden has had many “pinch me” moments when she asks, “Is this really happening?” These opportunities include serving on the Early Childhood Standards committee with many amazing educators across North Dakota. She currently serves on the Infant and Toddler Impact Grant committee for the state, as well as on a national committee as a region 8 representative for the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators (NAECTE). In this role, she was recently in Washington, D.C., where she was able to showcase what is happening at Mayville State University.

In summing up her experiences at Mayville State University, Dr. Odden came up with several things that she likes best about Mayville State. They included the ability to work closely with colleagues across all departments. In addition she said that she cannot praise her education division colleagues enough. She is thankful for all the opportunities she has to work closely with students, whether it is in class, as an adviser for Student Education Association, statewide, or nationally.

“I am forever grateful to learn from our students and for the opportunity to make a positive impact on their lives and professional careers. There is nothing more exciting than to reconnect with students after they have graduated and to hear about all that they have accomplished, and knowing that Mayville State had a part in their success.”

Oh, and we can’t forget about belly laughs! Kelli loves to share a really good belly laugh with her students and colleagues.

I tip my hat to Kelli for the spectacular work she does at Mayville State University. She truly personifies “The School of Personal Service,” and in an energetic, positive, and happy way. Thank you for all you do, Kelli! We’re “Comet Proud” of you!