Bausch returns to home county as first RV social worker
Editor’s note: This article is eighth in a series about young professionals in the Jackson County community who returned to the community after college to build successful careers.
When she graduated from Holton High School in 2013, Keri Bausch had a pretty good idea that her career would have something to do with counseling.
“I’d considered the mental health route — at that time, I was thinking either school counseling, or becoming a marriage and family therapist,” said Bausch, the daughter of Kenny and Louise Tanking of Holton. “But to be honest, I just wanted to play volleyball.”
Bausch’s desire would shift from sports to psychology, however, and in 2019, after earning degrees from Ottawa University and Washburn University, she would become the first person hired by the Royal Valley district as a staff social worker.
“It was different, because not a lot of people really knew my role, and I didn’t really know my role,” Bausch said of filling a position that was completely new in the district. “So that was definitely a learning experience, because we just had to create that role as we went and figure out where I was needed and what they wanted me to do.”
While at HHS, Bausch earned three letters in volleyball, two in basketball and four in track, helping lead the Wildcats to a fourth-place finish at the Class 4A state volleyball tournament in 2011 and to a state championship at the Class 4A state basketball tournament in 2012.
But even then, she knew she wanted to do something beyond sports.
“I loved my psychology class in high school,” she said. “Even though I didn’t know social work was the route I was going to go.”
After graduation, she became the third member of her family to take classes and play sports at Ottawa University after older brother Mike Tanking, who competed in basketball and track with the Braves, and older sister Erin Tanking-Scott, who also played volleyball at OU.
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