Southeast alum Dr. Kristina Hudson travels winding path to success
July 15, 2022
Sometimes the path to success is full of surprises. That was certainly the case for Southeast alum Dr. Kristina Hudson.
Hudson, who attended Southeast from 2003-2005, remembers wandering onto the Middlesboro Campus as a high school senior with her father in tow.
“I was a first-generation college student learning to navigate the whole process,” said Hudson. “We had no clue where to begin, so we literally began walking the campus and were amazed by the faculty and staff’s willingness to help.”
Once enrolled, she performed well in her classes, but she was unprepared when her math professor, the late Carlie Thompson, recommended her for a position as a peer tutor.
“I had no confidence in math. Throughout high school, I felt subpar, but Mr. Thompson never wavered. He was so confident I could do it, I couldn’t help but believe him,” she said.
Southeast Professor Saeb Omar encouraged her to take a variety of math and science classes in case she were to one day pursue medical school.
“It was a huge thing for Mr. Thompson to believe in me,” she said, “and for Dr. Omar to say, ‘You can go to med school.’ “
After transferring to LMU, Hudson planned to use her strong foundation in math and science towards a credential in physical therapy. Early on, however, she realized that education was her true calling.
“I think I realized that from tutoring,” she said. “Tutoring helped me to see the reward in breaking down information to others and the joy I got when they understood difficult concepts.”
Although she earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, the area had a shortage of job openings during that time. Fortunately, she was able to use her math and science courses towards an alternative license in secondary education.
“My road was not straight, but all the diversions I took led me to where I am now. If it wasn’t for the math and science courses at southeast, I wouldn’t have had the opportunities I did,” she said.
While teaching sixth-12th-grade science for many years, Hudson decided to work towards her master’s, Educational Specialist degree, and then her doctorate. Four years ago, she graduated from LMU with an Ed.D. in instructional leadership and began her current position as assistant professor and clinical supervisor for student teachers at LMU. In this capacity, she prepares and facilitates future teachers for their student teaching experience and prepares them for graduation.
“I’m their last stop,” she said.
When asked why she decided to earn her doctorate, Hudson says that she wanted to make her father proud:
“My dad only finished fifth grade. As one of multiple children, he had to help support the family. He wanted me to go as far as I could go.”
Hudson has been married to husband Eric since 2007, and the couple share three children, ages 14, 13, and 3. Together they bought and reopened a local HVAC company, now renamed LLake, LLC doing business as Graham Heating and Air Conditioning.
When asked what advice she would give potential students who are new to the college experience, she speaks with conviction:
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions. At Southeast, the faculty and staff really want to help you. Reach out and let them know that you don’t know what you’re doing. Do not let the fear of the unknown hold you back or feel like you are less because you are asking for help. You will find, as I did, a tremendous community of passionate, helpful educators.”
First-generation college graduate Dr. Kristina Hudson helps prepare new teachers for the classroom.