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Helping students soar: Leah Helsel Hamilton ’16 teaches children on Air Force base in Japan

Leah Helsel Hamilton and her husband, Captain Matthew Hamilton, a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force

Leah Helsel Hamilton and her husband, Captain Matthew Hamilton, a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force

Since graduating from Randolph, Leah Helsel Hamilton ’16 has gotten married, moved four times, and worked two jobs in two different fields. For now, though, she and her husband Matthew, a fighter pilot in the United States Air Force, call Okinawa, Japan, home. 

Hamilton is working as an educational technician for the U.S. Air Force. In that role, she serves as lead teacher at the Air Force’s Child Development Center at its base in Okinawa, where she creates lesson plans, sets up positive learning environments, and develops strategies to keep students happy, healthy, and engaged. One of her favorite activities so far has been establishing a pretend veterinarian clinic.

It was at Randolph that Hamilton discovered her interest in becoming a teacher, thanks to the education courses she took. But ironically, her major was history.

“I find myself using the skills from my history major every day,” Hamilton said. “The history program at Randolph helped me learn to think critically, write and communicate effectively, and be able to utilize many different sources. I am thankful for my history major every time I read a military brief!”

Prior to her current job, Hamilton worked as a recruiter for a diversity staffing firm in Charlotte, N.C. She has since earned a graduate certificate in middle grades education and is working towards obtaining a teaching license for middle and high school history and social studies.

Hamilton credited her professors at Randolph for helping prepare her for every step in her professional life.

“Randolph is an amazing school,” Hamilton said. “I had the opportunity to go to a larger state school for one semester my junior year. This school had a great academic reputation, but the education I received there didn’t come close to that of Randolph’s. The professors at Randolph care about you. They want you to succeed, and they are willing to help you.”



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