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2019 Early Career Award - Laura Kuebel

Remarks from Melissa Bestgen, Awards Committee Co-Chair:

Good afternoon, and welcome to the 2019 Ohio School Psychologists Association Fall Awards Banquet. Today we are recognizing two colleagues for their hard work and dedication to the field of school psychology.

First, our Early Career Award. The purpose of this award is to acknowledge the accomplishments of school psychologists in the first five years of their career. Nominees should demonstrate a commitment to the practice and promotion of school psychology, research, and advocacy. Membership in local, state, and national organizations, presentation of research at professional conferences, and participation in volunteer and advocacy events are considered.

The Fall 2019 Early Career Award recipient is: Laura Kuebel

Laura’s skill and drive have been apparent since graduate school, where she served as president of the School Psychologists of the University of Dayton, guiding the graduate student organization towards NASP recognition for Outstanding Advocacy Activities and School Psychology Awareness Week. During her graduate studies, she completed her thesis on the efficacy of social skills training on preschool prosocial behavior and emotional recognition, a topic very relevant to our daily practice. At this time, she was also diagnosed with breast cancer, but did not let this stunning diagnosis keep her from her passion. After graduation,she has since made her mark in the Montgomery County Educational Service Center, completing comprehensive evaluations, providing professional development, engaging in family consultation, training practicum students, and working in the Huber Heights community to serve her students. She works with the Huber Heights Early Readiness Coalition, comprised of community partners, such as Help Me Grow, YMCA, local libraries, and preschools, to help provide resources and education to promote academic and social emotional kindergarten readiness skills.Laura has made a significant impact in her school and community in such a short time, and the OSPA Executive board is honored to recognize Laura as the Fall 2019 Early Career Award recipient.

Remarks from Laura Kuebel

Good afternoon everyone! I would first like to thank OSPA for not only this award, but for also hosting this conference. As many of you know, there is a shortage of school psychologists, so, for lack of a better term, it’s really cool to see so many schoolpsychs in one room together. I want to thank some very special people in this room. I want to thank my colleagues at both Montgomery County ESC and Huber Heights City Schools for their support and encouragement these last few years. I want to thank my family who are here today. Thank you for encouraging me to chase my dreams and for helping me achieve them when I thought it was impossible. I’d like to thank my graduate assistant, Jordyn, who is here today. Jordyn, thank you for your hard work this year. You have been a lifesaver!

Finally, I want to thank three very special women in my life, Dr. Susan Davies, Dr. Elana Bernstein, and Katie Weber, my professors at the University of Dayton. Not only have these women afforded me so many opportunities since graduating, but they have become dear friends of mine. Each of these women have had such an influence on my life. From helping me complete my thesis, to providing me with feedback in the form of track changes on my assignments, to the support and flexibility they granted me during my first round of chemotherapy treatment, these women are some of the best in the business. Susan, Elana, Katie: thank you, thank you, thank you for teaching me, encouraging me, challenging me, and building into my life, both in the classroom and outside the classroom. It is because of your dedication to excellence that I am standing here today.

If you would have told me four years ago that I would one day be standing on this stage, accepting this award, I would have told you you were crazy. See, I can vividly remember sitting in the back on this room four years ago watching another school psychologist receive this award. I can remember thinking “gosh, how do you win that award? How is it possible to make an impact in the field of school psychology in five years? What does it take?” To be honest, I don’t know and I don’t have the answer. I am so humbled by the kind words spoken in my introduction, but if you listened closely, you’ll notice I haven’t published numerous articles, or have a test kit named after me, or even have a ground breaking intervention that I’ve developed. See, I think the reason I’m standing on this stage is because of a principle I learned during my internship four years ago: little moments lead to big change. My internship supervisor really emulated this. She taught me that every moment is an opportunity to set something in motion, to really make a difference. I’ve learned over the course of four years that showing up and leaning into the little moments is what makes a difference.

Being a cancer patient, moments become so important and really have so much more meaning. Modern medicine has allowed me so many more moments in my life, moments I didn’t think I had five years ago when I found out I was sick. I’ve learned to value each and every moment, whether it’s being recognized for your hard work, or starting another round of chemo, each moment serves a purpose, so take the time to remember each one. I really believe Taylor Swift was onto something when she wrote the lyrics “In this moment, now, capture it, remember it”. You see, me standing on this stage today didn’t just happen overnight. There wasn’t an isolated event that allowed me to be the recipient of this award. Thousands of small opportunities are what have led to this moment in time. Leaning into these opportunities and being present in those times are what have made today possible. Being present and leaning into each and every moment is what makes big changes and differences in our lives, our country, the education system, and the world possible. We have to show up, because our students needs us to, our colleagues need us to, our families need us to. Not only do we need to show up for others, but we need to show up each and every day for ourselves. I like to think the world would be a little different if we all showed up and leaned into each and every moment that we are presented with- let me reiterate, little moments lead to great things.

This conference is a moment in time, I hope you lean into it and that the many other moments you experience today, tomorrow, and the days after.