Christine Franklin: Preparing the next generation of cosmetologists

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Christine Franklin always wanted a career helping children. Although she didn't necessarily take a traditional path to achieve that goal, she feels incredibly fortunate for the opportunities she's had along the way.

After graduating from high school, the Harrisburg native enrolled at Lock Haven University, where she majored in sociology. Her original plan was to become a juvenile justice counselor. However, after completing an internship, she realized it wasn't the right fit. She left Lock Haven and came up with a new plan: earn her cosmetology operator's and teacher's licenses.

Now in her 11th year as a cosmetology instructor at Cumberland Perry Area Vocational Technical School in Mechanicsburg, College of Education alumna Christine Franklin is able to combine her love of teaching with her talents as a hairstylist. Credit: SubmittedAll Rights Reserved.

"I enjoyed being a hairstylist, but I felt as though something was missing," said Franklin. "I really wanted to teach in a public school."

A friend who was a vocational teacher in the Harrisburg School District encouraged Franklin to apply to Penn State. Franklin heeded her friend's advice, and earned her bachelor's degree in workforce education in 2011. While completing her course work, Franklin also taught full-time at Cumberland Perry Area Vocational Technical School (CPAVTS) in Mechanicsburg, worked part time in a salon, and raised two children.

Now in her 11th year at CPAVTS, Franklin is a cosmetology instructor/supervisor with 80-90 students in grades nine to 12 enrolled in her classes this year.

Looking back on her teaching career, Franklin said helping students develop their cosmetology skills is the most rewarding aspect of her job.

"The students come in with little or no knowledge of the craft, but by the end of their three years, they've learned so much," she said. "It's wonderful to feel as though I helped make a positive impact in their lives."

In addition to her Penn State degree and cosmetology licenses, Franklin holds a master's degree in special education from Messiah College, as well as culinary and restaurant management degrees and a catering diploma from Harrisburg Area Community College.

She lives in Harrisburg with her husband, Brian; daughters, Brittaney and Brena; and three grandchildren.

Last Updated November 20, 2018