“As far back as I can remember, teaching is what I wanted to do—but I didn’t think it would be math,” says Josh Oxborough. When he started community college a few years after high school, he tested into the lowest math level. “I just started working on it, and it turns out I like math after all!”
Oxborough changed his major, got a National Science Foundation scholarship, and transferred to the University’s College of Science and Engineering with his eye on education. But he was also a father, balancing school, jobs, and family. He applied for scholarships to keep his dream alive.
Kelsie Meyer came into the U as a pre-med major and discovered her passion for teaching English as a second language through a study and internship experience in rural Ecuador.
“Going into the trip I was excited to grow in my Spanish,” says Meyer. “When I saw the lack of resources and poverty, my focus shifted to ESL. Spanish becomes a building block that I can use in teaching English as a foreign language and ESL.”
Meyer comes from a single-parent household and has depended on financial aid to make college possible.
Now Oxborough’s and Meyer’s dreams to teach are coming true with scholarships from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation. The scholarship was created to meet the teacher shortage in key areas, including math, science, ESL, and special education.
“The importance of quality teaching and of teachers with a passion for their subject areas is clear,” says Mark Dienhart, foundation president and CEO. “But the Schulze family recognized that high achieving students are making career choices based more on financial necessity than their passions. They wanted to change that.”
“Because of where I am in life, the scholarship made becoming a teacher possible.” —Josh Oxborough, M.Ed. student, initial licensure program
The new scholarship will make a difference for at least 20 students a year.
“When I got the award letter I read it twice—I thought there was a mistake because it was so generous,” Oxborough says.
“The scholarship lessens the burden for my mom and for me,” says Meyer. “The impact is huge.”
Support student scholarships at cehd.umn.edu/giving.
Story by Gayla Marty | Photo by Dawn Villella | Spring/Summer 2016