Tuesday, September 27, 2016

By Mikaela Parrick

Teaching runs in the family for Nora Tucker, one of five members of the University of Iowa College of Education’s first cohort of Dean’s Scholars.

“When I was child, my grandpa always stressed how important education was and taught me to value my education,” says Tucker, whose grandpa was a professor at Northern Illinois University.

Nora and her grandfather
Nora Tucker with her grandpa and UI College of Education Alumnus, Donald Ary.

“This scholarship helps me pursue something I am extremely passionate about and follow the example of my greatest role model, while also providing me with the resources and experiences I need to become successful and involved in the College of Education,” Tucker adds.

Tucker, a Woodstock, Illinois, native, says her inspiration to become a teacher came from her late grandfather, Donald Ary, a University of Iowa College of Education alumnus who got his Ph.D. in educational psychology.

In high school Tucker furthered her love for teaching by working with a special needs cheer team, then by working as the director of tutoring at her high school, where she helped many students find tutors.

“Seeing the impact I had made me so happy and showed me how rewarding working with kids can be,” she says.

Comparable to the Presidential Scholarship offered to University of Iowa students, Dean’s Scholars must have at least a 30 ACT and a 3.80 GPA on a 4.00 scale in order to receive the $12,000-17,000 scholarship. Also receiving the scholarship are Kelsey Wells, Jessica Battani, Rachel Dunn, and Elizabeth Boksa.

The Dean's Scholars Program is supported by a generous gift from Linda R. and Dale Baker.

'Best and brightest students'

“These students are the best and brightest,” says Nancy Langguth, associate dean for Teacher Education and Student Services, who was instrumental in developing the scholarship for first-year, first-time students.

“It pays for all of their classes through the College of Education,” she says. “We wanted to support and fund the teacher leader education experience.”

Rachel Dunn, who grew up in West Des Moines before attending high school in North Carolina, was a ballet dancer and apprentice with the Charlotte Ballet in Charlotte, North Carolina, which she says strongly influenced her decision to teach.

“I like to be active, be challenged, be creative, and, of course, work with children,” she says.

Recipients of the scholarship are high-achieving students who aspire to become teachers and who are anticipated to make significant and lasting contributions to the College of Education, as well as the world of education.

During their years on campus, Dean’s Scholars are invited to participate in scholar development activities designed to connect them to a variety of intellectual, professional and social opportunities.

Daniel Clay, dean of the UI College of Educations, says that these students represent the future of education. As part of the College of Education Teacher Preparation Program, they will be exposed to cutting-edge technology and specialized training in cultural competency and assessment through obtaining a Teacher Leader Certificate, something required of all teacher education students.

“These students are the best and brightest. We wanted to support and fund the teacher leader education experience.”
Nancy Langguth
Associate Dean for Teacher Education and Student Services
College of Education

Each of them will also receive an iPad as part of the Linda Baker Teacher Leader Project, offered to all incoming teacher education students. However, the Dean’s Scholar program provides additional opportunities for leadership and collaboration.

“I am already having great opportunities to make connections at the University of Iowa and to the education community, and I feel empowered to go out there and hopefully become a great teacher,” Dunn adds.

Kelsey Wells, a South Elgin, Illinois, native, played soccer in high school and was a member of several clubs, including the Future Educators Association and Peer Leadership. She also worked as an instructor at Mathnasium, a math tutoring center. 

“This scholarship means a lot to me because it acknowledges all the hard work, time and effort I put into high school.  It also further solidifies my desire to be teacher because other people have noticed my passion for teaching,” Wells says.

Jessica Battani of Urbandale, Iowa, was heavily involved in dance, choir, and student ministry in high school.

“I am incredibly honored to have been chosen as one of the recipients of this scholarship. I am beyond excited to start pursuing a career in education and to have a chance to touch the lives of my students,” she says.

“It means a lot to receive a scholarship of this caliber; knowing there are people supporting my endeavors and have faith that I'll succeed is super special.”

Elizabeth Boksa decided she wanted to become a teacher near the end of her high school career, after job shadowing at an elementary school in her hometown of Johnston, Iowa.

“The scholarship has been a blessing and means so much to me, both financially and for the experience. I am so lucky to get to be in this position where I get to meet all of the wonderful people in the College of Education and all of the amazing people it is connected to,” Boksa says.

“I am looking forward to everything I will learn and am so grateful for this opportunity.”

Contact information

College of Education Office of Student Services Please direct questions about this scholarship to Office of Student Services staff: edu-educationservices@uiowa.edu or 319-335-5359.