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Tucson woman completes UA masters program despite bicycle crash

Posted at 5:38 AM, May 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-10 09:20:04-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — When Kimberly Sommerkamp walks across the stage to get her masters degree from the University of Arizona on Friday, that alone will be a huge accomplishment.

She couldn't walk for months after getting run over by a car last fall.

"There were definitely days where I just didn't want to get out of bed," Sommerkamp said. "And I just wanted to sit there and cry and say 'why me?'"

The crash happened in September. Sommerkamp was commuting to campus on her bicycle when she was hit while crossing Grant on Tucson Boulevard.

"I fractured a bone in my face -- the orbital bone -- and then I had two spinal fractures as well as four cracked ribs, or broken ribs," Sommerkamp said.

She also had a collapsed lung among a long list of other injuries. Sommerkamp is a student teacher at Flowing Wells Junior High School and will be getting her masters through the Teach Arizona program.

During the one year masters program, Sommerkamp spent much of it in a wheelchair. She wasn't unable to walk for months and her mother had to fly in from Missiouri to help take care of her.

Despite her physical injuries, Sommerkamp made it through thanks to her family, fellow teachers and students.

"My teachers were really great," she said. "They videotaped the lessons for me and I was able to send in my assignments remotely to kind of keep up with my classes along the way."

Sommerkamp loves teaching for many reasons, but of course it's all about her students.

"They're amazing," Sommerkamp said. "And if you give them the opportunity they will surpass your expectations every time."

Her focus is mathematics and Sommerkamp wants to show kids it can be beautifully versatile it is.