CEHD is proud to offer numerous scholarships that meet a wide variety of student needs. Surprisingly, however, there are very few that support transfer students. This is especially troublesome since these students typically miss the standard scholarship cycle.
The Signe E. and Arthur E. Jackson Memorial Scholarship aims to fill this gap. It was the first CEHD undergraduate fund to support transfer students who intend to become teachers. Created in 2015 by Robert Jackson in memory of his parents, the fund targets those students who cannot afford four years of tuition at the University.
The 2020-21 recipient is Ozge Biyik, a 33-year-old, non-traditional transfer student. She was born and raised in Turkey and lived with her Minnesota-born husband in Brazil before moving back to his home state in 2018.
“For several years, I had been thinking about working in a field where I felt passionate, but I had to work and did not really consider the possibility,” she says. “Teaching has been a big interest of mine in the last few years, but I thought it was an impossible dream.”
“I am looking forward to being an educator and fighting against inequities in the education system for all types of students.”
After quitting her job in Brazil and moving to a new country with her husband, she was feeling stressed about finding a job that she wouldn’t be excited about.
“With the encouragement of my husband, Nick, I decided to take a chance. I started at a community college and my passion for teaching became my passion for special education,” she says. “I am looking forward to being an educator and fighting against inequities in the education system for all types of students.”
Once she knew the path she wanted to take, Biyik wanted to continue her education at the University of Minnesota. As a recent immigrant who is a full-time student, she knew what a big burden it would be financially, even before the pandemic. However, she says when she was accepted to receive the scholarship, she was able to see her future much more clearly.
“My stress related to after graduation declined immensely and I was able to focus better on my studies and less on the finances,” she says. “Donors like mine, and others out there, are not only supporting us financially, but they are truly helping us follow our dreams that we thought would not be possible.”
Story by Kevin Moe | Photos courtesy of Erica Loeks | Spring/Summer 2021