Prior to applying to Georgia State’s Instructional Design & Technology (IDT) master’s program, I conducted face-to-face classroom trainings as a training specialist for about a year. I enjoyed my position, however I realized I preferred designing courses as opposed to facilitating classes.
Prior to moving to Atlanta with my wife, I worked with kids as a youth minister. While this was rewarding, I wanted a career working with young people in a different capacity.
After spending six years as a PE teacher in Ohio, I suffered a spinal cord injury. My wife and I moved to Atlanta in order for me to rehabilitate at the Shepherd Center.
I moved to Atlanta after graduating from college to pursue a career in communications given the city’s reputation for being a media magnet. I quickly discovered, however, that getting my foot in the door had more to do with who you know, not what you know.
I was very involved with sports throughout my youth and understood the value of staying active. After graduating from college, I immediately began working as a K-8 PE teacher and taught at the same school for six years.
I started my career as a lab manager while I was an undergraduate at Southern Polytechnic State University (now known as Kennesaw State University’s College of Engineering and Engineering Technology), providing faculty with technology and development training.
After completing my bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) at the University of Alabama, I immediately enrolled in Georgia State’s CSD master’s degree program.
I was born and raised in Atlanta and attended several urban schools. Even though I struggled as a student, I had a great experience. After returning home from college, I spent a couple of years working as a barista, medical assistant and a nanny.
I relocated from Minnesota to Atlanta in 2004 with my husband and children to be closer to family. Shortly after arriving, I started working as an environmental planner for Georgia State’s Department of Transportation.
“Doing quantitative research in the master’s program opened my eyes to legitimate vs. pop science information. I also saw how what I was doing was affecting my students.” —Rachael Mendel, M.Ed. ’12, Special Education
Hometown: Sandy Springs, GA Education: M.Ed. ’12, Special Education (Behavior and Learning Disabilities), Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA B.A.… more »