Alumni Profile: Andra Hjelm Dalton
There was never a question that Andra Hjelm Dalton ’06 would attend North Park University where her father, John Hjelm, has taught physical education and exercise science for more than three decades. A picture of her wearing a North Park sweatshirt as a 2-year-old pretty much confirmed that.
But she wasn’t necessarily going to follow in her father’s footsteps. Although she had grown up being active as an avid bowler, waterskier, and lacrosse and volleyball player, Andra pursued math education and language arts before taking her first physical education class—and loved it.
She now works as a physical education teacher at Carl Sandburg Middle School in Mundelein, Ill., and coaches girls bowling at Vernon Hills High School and girls lacrosse at Libertyville High School nearby.
Andra found that being a part of such a diverse community at North Park while taking advantage of all the opportunities afforded to her on campus and in Chicago—like serving in student government, writing for the school newspaper, coaching bowling at a local high school, and exploring downtown—prepared her to work with colleagues and students from different backgrounds. About half of her students are Hispanic and speak English as a second language, and she is learning enough Spanish so she can better communicate with them.
“Being in Chicago and on a campus that is very diverse prepared me for who I teach with and who I teach,” she said. “I am able to transfer what I learned in college about diversity to what I do everyday.”