Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Behind the Major with Nate Berkes: serving adolescents


Nate Berkes is a senior working towards a bachelor of art while majoring in English at West Texas A&M University. Berkes is from Cameron and strives to give students the best chance at their education.

Berkes plans to pursue a career that will serve children but is open-minded to follow other paths.

“I just finished up applying to graduate school for some master . . . of education programs, so I’m going into teaching, but also, I’m not completely opposed to other paths; there’s a lot I can do with my English degree,” Berkes said.

It is helping others in academia that made Berkes interested in working in a field that could serve others in a positive manner.

“I originally came here as a wildlife biology major, actually, and I switched to English because I took a really good film class,” Berkes said. “And around then is when I started tutoring back home, just like online and in-person, and I found tutoring was something I really enjoyed, like seeing someone’s personal development, but also at the same time, I realized that I kind of had a faulty way of going about it. So that’s when I kind of decided to pursue a master. . . of education so that I could gain those necessary skills. I really just enjoy it, like the personal connection angle, and also, in a weird way, it’s a way of being able to stay forever young.”

Berkes thinks teaching can be beneficial when it’s taken into the correct lens to support the students.

“The big thing about teaching is that I think we have a misconception about it,” Berkes said. “Most people think teaching is about imparting knowledge to other people, where really, I think the best approach to teaching is actualizing how you can best help other people discover things about themselves or discover things they’re passionate about. There’s one thing for lecturing in front of classes and another for really sitting there, trying to connect with the students and really trying to help them work out through something. So you’re just there to really guide people so that they can attain the skills that they will need in the future.”

One of Berkes’ favorite things about his major is the ability to develop many essential skills.

“My most favorite thing about my major is the critical thinking skills it imparts on you,” Berkes said. “You’re going to approach a lot of texts that you probably have experience with, but the professor is there to help make you think about it in a very different way and in a way that you probably hadn’t previously perceived.”

As a result of his high GPA, passion and illustrative abilities, Berkes’ professors have encouraged him to apply to several prestigious universities to obtain his master of education. These universities include the University of Texas at Austin, Columbia, Stanford, Vanderbilt, and Northwestern. The master of education path these universities offer will provide Berkes with a pedagogical background and certifications so he can immediately go into teaching. Although Berkes came to WT to pursue wildlife biology, he stayed because of the professors.

“I came here as a wildlife biology major because only two schools in Texas offer the degree, but I stayed at WT really because of the connection with the professors, and they’re all really passionate,” Berkes said. “People like Dr. Harrison, I think, were a really big factor in my staying because I took a class with him called Video Games and Literature, and it was the most insane class I had ever taken. One of the first readings was us watching a Doja Cat music video and reading Wittgenstein, the German philosopher for the same class. When I realized that Dr. Harrison was the kind of person who would be teaching at WT, I knew I’d definitely found the place I’m comfortable at.”

One part of WT that Berkes likes is the community, specifically within the English department.

“I think the biggest advantage of WT has been community, especially within the department,” Berkes said. “If I went to a larger school that was, you know, more prestigious, I wouldn’t have been able to forge the really personal and great connections with professors or other students that I’ve been able to do here. I don’t feel quite like a number here.”

Berkes is part of the Philosophy Club and does a lot of community involvement, such as volunteering at his local library and tutoring. Aside from academia, Berkes enjoys writing, listening to music, the development of genre and reading, but especially reading American postmodernism literature.

Berkes believes you should be open-minded about your futuristic plans.

“It’s good to not have exceptionally concrete goals and expectations,” Berkes said. “You should still have something that you want to strive towards, but also realize that when you get off the path when you’re off the path, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. I think a lot of the exploration and a lot of the growth that I’ve had as a person has been from when I’ve strayed far away from my pre-prescribed path.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Kaelin Collar
Kaelin Collar, Junior Reporter, Associate Editor-in-Chief
Hi everyone! My name is Kaelin Collar, and I'm a sophomore majoring in biology on a pre-medical track from Oregon. I've been with The Prairie News for one year and am the current Associate Editor. Although I'm not pursuing a career in journalism, The Prairie News continues to improve my interpersonal, interviewing, writing, research and leadership skills that will benefit me in my future career. My career goal is to work in the surgical field, with neurology as my specialty. Aside from academics, I love to read, hike, work, go plant shopping, spend time with friends and family and be on the water. 

Comments (0)

All The PRAIRIE Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *