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Each student has a story ‌

At the School of Education, we have hard-working students committed to improving schools and expanding educational opportunities for young people. The students featured here are among those who received some form of donor-supported aid in the past year. You can be a part of our students’ stories by contributing to our Annual Fund. Thank you! Make an online gift TODAY at http://giving.unc.edu/gift/educ

JORDAN STOKES Recipient of a Dean E. Smith Scholarship A.B.Ed. in Elementary Education Class of 2014 Charlotte, North Carolina

Why I chose education For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a teacher. I knew that I loved to learn, but more than that, I loved to help others learn. As I grew older, I realized that the real reason I wanted to teach is because education changes lives. Specifically, I chose elementary education because I love working with younger children. I had my favorite teacher in the fifth grade, and I hope that I can have the same positive impact on my students that he had on me.

My experience My experience at the UNC School of Education has been everything I hoped it would be. The focus on equity and equality in the classroom has made me feel confident that I can be a fair and respectful teacher to each of my students. The School of Education is such a close-knit group that it’s almost like a family. It’s nice to be part of such a great network of people who learn from each other and share experiences.

How the Dean E. Smith Scholarship has benefited me Receiving the Dean E. Smith Scholarship was a wonderful honor and I am so grateful to have received it. The scholarship has helped relieve some of the financial burden of college for my family and me.

My career goals After graduation, I hope to teach somewhere in North Carolina, preferably in a county close to my family. I hope to have a positive impact on the education system and to transform the way my students view learning. As of now, I would like to remain an elementary school teacher for quite a while, but further down the line I could see myself moving into the administrative aspect of education.

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DEDE ADDY Recipient of a Bill and Carol Malloy Travel Award Ph.D. in Education: Culture, Curriculum, and Change Class of 2014 Grand Rapids, Michigan

My background I have taken what may be seen as a nontraditional path to graduate studies in education. As an undergraduate, I majored in linguistics. Before returning to school, I worked as a lab coordinator in multiple developmental psychology labs, spanning the areas of language acquisition, brain development, and spatial and numerical cognition. My current interests in language and education have also been shaped by experiences growing up as the child of Ghanaian immigrants, in a household where two languages, English and Ga, were regularly spoken.

Why I chose the UNC School of Education I was already familiar with the Triangle area, having attended Duke as an undergraduate. And as the child of a both UNC grad and a Duke grad, I had become somewhat familiar with the University while growing up. But more specifically, I was drawn to the UNC School of Education by its strong faculty, whose expertise spans a range of research areas, many of which align with my own interests. The program here also stands out for its interdisciplinary nature and the flexibility it offers students in designing highly individualized studies.

How the Malloy Travel Award has benefited me The Carol and William Malloy Travel Award will help support my travel to the annual conference of the American Educational Research Association this spring, where I will be presenting a paper. This will be my first national educational conference. Attending such a large and notable conference will allow me to interact with other educational scholars around the nation and become more involved in the professional community.

My career goals My goal is to contribute to both educational research and practice during my career. After graduation, I hope to work in the government or non-profit sector influencing educational policy.

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CRISTIN MONTALBANO Recipient of the James B. and Susan H. Pittleman Fellowship Ph.D. in School Psychology Class of 2016 Cliffside Park, New Jersey

My background Prior to enrolling in the School of Education’s School Psychology program, I was a special education teacher in New York City for six years where I had the pleasure of teaching first, second and third graders the necessary skills to achieve positive academic, social and emotional outcomes. I earned a B.S. in psychology and political science from Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and an M.S.Ed. in childhood special education from Hunter College of the City University of New York.

My experience My experience at the UNC School of Education has been amazing. Within my first year of studies, I have had the opportunity to work with experts in the field of school psychology, data analysis and psychometrics. Each of these experiences has challenged me intellectually and provided me with opportunities to develop the skills necessary to be an effective school psychologist.

How the James B. and Susan H. Pittleman Fellowship has benefited me I am truly honored to be the recipient of the James B. and Susan H. Pittleman Fellowship. This opportunity has helped me pursue my goals in the field of special education. Due to the generosity of James B. and Susan H. Pittleman, I have joined the LEARN NC team where I am currently developing classroom-ready resources for early elementary teachers. These resources span several content areas and integrate special education approaches and I am truly grateful for this opportunity to help teachers meet the needs of students in their classrooms.

My career goals After I graduate, I aspire to become a leader in the field of education. I aim to be involved in many endeavors geared toward ensuring that students receive the accommodations they need to bolster their academic, social and emotional functioning. As a result, I not only want to become a school psychologist in a school system, but I also aspire to contribute to the knowledge base of the field through research.

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BROOKE MIDKIFF Recipient of a Carol and William Malloy Travel Award Ph.D. in Education: Policy, Leadership and School Improvement Class of 2015 Danville, Virginia

My background I taught middle school language arts and social studies in rural, urban and suburban schools in North Carolina for eight years. I hold a master’s degree in English education as well as certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in early adolescent social studies.

Why I chose education I chose the field of education because, like so many teachers, I wanted to make a difference in the lives of students. I stayed in the profession because of my love of learning. I love sharing learning experiences with others and believe that one of the most important jobs of a teacher, whether in K-12 or higher education, is to inspire students to develop a love of learning and to help them develop into lifelong learners.

Why I chose the UNC School of Education The School of Education at UNC offers a particular emphasis on the role of education in mediating social injustices. This focus on equity and equality is not universal to schools of education throughout the country, and I believe UNC’s commitment to social justice makes it a unique place to learn and grow.

How the Carol and William Malloy Travel Award has benefited me The Carol and William Malloy Travel Award is helping me attend the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association in 2013. This will be my first time attending the conference—an important milestone for any aspiring educational researcher.

My career goals Upon completing my degree, I hope to continue my research in the area of gender equality within public schooling, advancing the theoretical and empirical work in the area of gender equity in education. I would also like to continue research in the area of policy processes as well as my interests in school reform. Particularly, I would like to expand work on the impact of reform measures on minority students in urban schools.

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HANK SAMUELS Recipient of a Gail Bunn Fellowship A.B.Ed. in Elementary Education Class of 2013 Saint Augustine, Florida

My background I was born and raised in Saint Augustine, Fla. Both of my parents are deaf and I was brought up immersed in deaf culture. As a coach’s son, I played many sports and always had a genuine love for acting and history.

Why I chose education I chose education because I genuinely want to make an impact on lives. Teaching is one of the few professions where you can see that impact every single day. I have always loved working with children and as a teacher, I can form authentic relationships with these kids.

My experience My experience in the UNC School of Education has been amazing. I have become extremely close with my peers in my elementary cohort and they are my support system. My professors are true mentors in every sense of the word. I feel that I have gained the experience and knowledge to go out into the world and be a great teacher.

How the Gail Bunn Fellowship has benefited me Through the Gail Bunn Fellowship, I have had access to rural schools. Prior to this time, I had never experienced rural schools, either in my personal academic history or through my previous practicum placements in the School of Education. The Bunn Fellowship has given me the opportunity to reach out to kids who are not traditionally exposed to people and teachers from UNC. It has allowed me to immerse myself in the community that is formed around a rural school.

My career goals I hope to teach in the Triangle area where I can inspire kids to learn and grow.

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ELENI ZGOUROU Recipient of the Ira J. and Esther L. Gordon Scholarship Ph.D. in Education: Early Childhood, Special Education and Literacy Class of 2017 Deskati, Greece

My background After earning a master’s degree in early childhood care and education in Greece, I moved to Los Angeles, Calif., where I earned a master’s degree in educational psychology from California State University, Northridge (CSUN). During my five years in Los Angeles, I worked as a research assistant in projects at CSUN and at UCLA. I also volunteered in various settings, including infant and toddler rooms, an early intervention program and classrooms ranging from kindergarten to third grade.

Why I chose the UNC School of Education The reputation of the UNC School of Education and its faculty influenced my decision to apply here. In addition, the UNC School of Education provides a wide range of graduate courses, specialty areas and research interests attracting individuals with different interests and backgrounds. I was also influenced by the fact that the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute is affiliated with the UNC School of Education, providing marvelous learning and research opportunities.

My experience My experience at the School of Education has been wonderful! It is an intellectually stimulating environment which has offered me opportunities to meet and work with remarkable people, attend interesting classes, seminars and lectures, and make many new friends from diverse backgrounds. I am very proud and happy to be a graduate student in the UNC School of Education.

How the Ira J. and Esther L. Gordon Scholarship has benefited me I am truly honored to have received the Ira J. and Esther L. Gordon Scholarship. Beyond its significant financial contribution which helps me concentrate on my graduate studies, it inspires me to work harder and seek to do something beneficial for children and their families. In addition, because I am the first in my family to attend college and the first to study abroad, this award has made my entire family and me proud.

My career goal My career goal is to become a professor at a university where I can teach and conduct research. I hope to advocate for a better and more equitable education for all children.

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ADRIENNE VILLAGOMEZ Recipient of a Carol and William Malloy Travel Award Ph.D. in School Psychology Class of 2016 Allentown, Pennsylvania

Why I chose the UNC School of Education The abundance of resources at UNC and the surrounding area related to research and training in neurodevelopmental disabilities made UNC a great fit for me. The School of Education, in conjunction with affiliations with the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute and other research and training sites, provided my first opportunities to engage in graduate-level research, practicum opportunities and advocacy efforts.

My experience I’ve had a range of unique experiences through the School of Education. I spent my first year in a research assistantship with Dr. Barbara Wasik, focusing on family literacy, home visiting and classroom observation through a graduate school merit assistantship. During my second year, I worked as an America Reads Coach Mentor at SCALE (Student Coalition for Action in Literacy Education), supporting undergraduate tutors in literacy tutoring at a local elementary school. This year, I’ll be spending my summer in Porto, Portugal, to engage in research through Dr. Rune Simeonsson’s Transatlantic Consortium on Global Education and Developmental Studies.

How the Malloy Travel Award has benefited me This year’s National Association of School Psychology Annual Convention was hosted in Seattle and the Carol and William Malloy Travel Award made it feasible for me to give my first professional presentation at a national conference.

My career goals As a future school psychologist, I hope to improve the quality of life for children and youth and their families by being an advocate and resource. My long-term career goals include contributing to and generating change in the delivery of services within our education system through advocacy for individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities.

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BRIAN WOODARD Recipient of the Galassi-Brown Advocacy Award M.Ed. in School Counseling Class of 2012 Snow Camp, North Carolina

My background I was born and raised in Snow Camp, N.C., and was diagnosed with a learning disability as a child. I struggled for much of my early school career to keep up with my peers. I disliked school then but my instructors and my parents pushed me forward and encouraged me. In high school, I began to realize that even though I needed to do things a little differently than most students, I could still be successful in school. Upon graduating from high school, I became a first-generation college student. I could not afford to attend a four-year school, so I enrolled at Alamance Community College where I earned an associate’s degree in arts. I had never dreamed that I would be able to attend a college other than a community college, but with encouragement and advice from professors and advisers, I transferred to UNCChapel Hill through the Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program (C-STEP) and became a Carolina Covenant Scholar. When I graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in May 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in history, I had been transformed into a person who could create my own opinions and felt prepared to become a leader.

How the Galassi-Brown Advocacy Award has benefited me The award means so much to me especially since my peers, supervisors and professor chose to give it to me. It signifies that pushing for students and helping them reach for their goals is vital to their development. The award has helped fuel the passion within me to help others achieve their dreams.

My career goals After completing my master’s degree in school counseling, I was fortunate to join the staff of the C-STEP Program in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at UNC-Chapel Hill. The C-STEP partnership is currently established with eight community colleges in North Carolina. It is my goal to work toward expanding the C-STEP program across the state so that we can be available to support all community college students throughout North Carolina who dream of transferring to UNC-Chapel Hill.

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BEIMNET BAISSA Recipient of the Frank R. Comfort Scholarship A.B.Ed. in Middle Grades Education with Concentrations in Social Studies and Language Arts Class of 2013 Charlotte, North Carolina

Why I chose education I’ve always loved to learn, and teaching is something I’ve wanted to do since elementary school. I had an amazing fourth-grade teacher who was kind, funny and challenging; she met each one of us where we were. After being in her class, I wanted to be exactly like her. In high school, I took a class that allowed me to intern in a fourth-grade classroom for about six weeks, and after that experience I thought I might prefer to teach older students. As a Carolina Teaching Fellow, I have been able to be in local classrooms at different grade levels, and I finally realized that middle school is the right grade level for me, where I can teach and focus on a subject that I love.

Why I chose the UNC School of Education UNC is an incredible school that offers so many opportunities for great classes, experiences in local areas and connections to the world. When I was in high school, I knew that I wanted to come here for college. I also knew that the UNC School of Education would offer those same advantages when I enrolled.

My career goals I hope be a middle school teacher next year in North Carolina, teaching either social studies or language arts. I hope that I can be a teacher who is an advocate for my students, an adult they can trust and learn from, and a person who successfully teaches them what they need to learn in my class. I am committed to the idea that all children are capable of doing well, and I intend to provide a fair and equitable classroom where all my students can succeed.

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TARA ANDERSON Recipient of the Barbara and John Chapman Graduate Fellowship Ph.D. in Education: Culture, Curriculum and Change Class of 2016; Durham (previously Kernersville)

My background I earned my bachelor’s degree in middle grades education at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2006 and my master’s degree in library and information studies at UNC-Greensboro in 2010. Before starting my Ph.D., I taught sixth- and seventh-grade language arts for two years, and I worked as a school library media coordinator for three years in Winston-Salem.

Why I chose the UNC School of Education I chose the UNC School of Education because its doctoral program offers a flexible program that could be customized to my research interests. Since I have a background in both education and library science, I wanted to be able to create a program of studies that uniquely addresses both areas.

My experience I’m amazed every day at the variety of backgrounds and experiences my classmates bring to our class discussions. I learn so much from them, and we have supported each other in navigating new ideas. The faculty push us and set the bar high. I can honestly say that my first year as a doctoral student has been the most amazing and intellectually stimulating year of my life, and I look forward to the next three.

How the Barbara and John Chapman Graduate Fellowship has benefited me Barbara and John Chapman are incredible supporters of the School of Education, and their work in the University and the community is an inspiration! The Barbara and John Chapman Graduate Fellowship has allowed me to focus on my research in literacy and explore different ways I can use my research to affect literacy education upon graduation from the program.

Career goals I hope to become a professor, finding a balance between pursuing my research and working with pre-service teachers. Teaching is in my blood, but I have discovered that I have a love for research that runs just as deep. My dream course to teach would be a course in young adult literature for middle and high school teachers.

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SUSAN HEDGES Recipient of the Vinnie Ireland Fellowship Ph.D. in Education: Early Childhood, Special Education and Literacy Class of 2015; Arlington, Virginia

Why I chose education Both of my children were diagnosed with learning challenges from a very young age so naturally I devoted a lot of time to educating myself about how best to meet their needs. Knowing that they would need trained teachers to help them learn, at a time when there is a shortage of special education teachers, I decided to make a career shift and become trained as a teacher. Now, using my experience in special education both as a parent and as a teacher, I want to take this journey a step further to the research level to broaden my impact on the lives of children. My experience I’ve been overwhelmed by the supportive nature of the School of Education community. The school is not too large so we have the opportunity to get to know many of the faculty and students in other cohorts. Another aspect of the UNC School of Education that I’m really enjoying is the diversity of the students. Sharing educational experiences with my colleagues not only from around the nation but from around the globe is great added value! How the Vinnie Ireland Fellowship has benefited me I’ve been fortunate to join the School of Education through the generous support of the Vinnie Ireland Fellowship, which is allowing me to work with UNC’s brand new Center for Secondary Education for Students with Autism (CSESA) at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute. As my background in education has been at the secondary level and with a research interest in improving the post-school outcomes of individuals with autism, this was a perfect match. I believe the experience I will gain through this fellowship will prepare me for a wide range of professional opportunities. My career goals Whatever path I choose will hopefully incorporate my international experience with my research interest in autism and special education to impact the lives of children at a global level.

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SUMMER PENNELL Recipient of a Carol and William Malloy Travel Award Ph.D. in Education: Culture, Curriculum and Change Class of 2016 North Wilkesboro, North Carolina

Why I chose education It took me several years to find my academic and career home, but I am happy I made my way to education. It allows me to work on all the things I care about: social justice, the arts, literature, youth and of course, teaching. Education is a field that enables us to create change on local and systemic levels and that is something I value.

Why I chose the UNC School of Education I was drawn to the Culture, Curriculum and Change program because of the emphasis on social justice and interdisciplinarity. I was looking for a program that would allow me to get a good foundation in theory and practice from multiple perspectives, and as soon as I learned about the Culture, Curriculum and Change program at UNC I knew it was where I wanted to be. My interests are widespread but are all connected to my future goals, and at UNC I am able to pursue all of them without being forced to choose just one.

How the Carol and William Malloy Travel Award has benefited me The Carol and William Malloy Travel award is allowing me to attend the American Educational Research Association’s annual conference in San Francisco in April. At the conference I will participate in two roundtable sessions. My papers are titled “Opening Hearts and Minds: A Meta-Analysis of LGBTQ-focused Professional Development Programs for K-12 Teachers” and “Process Drama as an Educational Tool for the Oppressed.” I am looking forward to meeting other researchers who work with LGBTQ populations and drama integration.

My career goals After graduation, I hope to work at a research university. I would like to work with preservice teachers on English methods and social foundations. I would also like to continue researching ways to improve schooling for LGBTQ youth and teachers, performance integration in the classroom and how those two areas can be combined to foster safe spaces.

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SARAH CARITHERS Recipient of the Susan Redd Scholarship A.B.Ed. in Elementary Education Class of 2013; Gastonia, North Carolina

Why I chose education In the spring semester of my first year, I took Dr. Gerald Unks’ education course and had the opportunity to tutor in a kindergarten classroom as an added component of his class. Each week I helped a student with his unfinished work and on one of the last days I worked with him we were able to complete all of his unfinished work! The moment when he ran around to his classmates telling them he had finished “ALL OF HIS WORK” and the joy I felt in that moment was when I knew I wanted to be a teacher.

Why I chose the UNC School of Education I chose the UNC School of Education because everyone I talked to who had graduated from UNC with a degree in education RAVED about UNC’s School of Education. After hearing about the incredible opportunities and experiences the faculty provide for their students, I knew I wanted to be a part of this school!

How the Susan Redd Scholarship has benefited me The Susan Redd Scholarship has been an incredible financial blessing. I have held a job throughout my undergraduate years at Carolina while focusing on my academic studies. As this semester approached, I was very worried about how I would make financial ends meet, since I am a full-time student teacher this semester and therefore unable to work. This scholarship has greatly eased some of the financial stress I had worried about. It has allowed me to devote all my attention toward my student teaching efforts.

My career goals After I graduate, I plan to work for several years in an elementary classroom before pursuing a master’s degree. Right now my long-term goal is to become a literacy specialist, but I would first like to be in the classroom for a few years and see what direction I feel pulled toward. My big passions have always been in reading and writing and I would love to find ways to help children fall in love with literacy.

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KAY CEE BUTCHER The Dean E. Smith Scholarship Master of Arts in Teaching Class of 2013; Wilson, North Carolina

My background As an undergraduate at UNC-Chapel Hill, I had several amazing and life-changing opportunities. Through the School of Education, I was given a scholarship to attend a 28-day North Carolina Outward Bound Course in the summer of 2009. In the summer of 2011, I went with the School of Social Work to Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa. I also studied abroad and taught English in Seville, Spain, in the fall of 2011. Now the School of Education has given me the opportunity to do my student teaching in Beijing, China, this spring and I couldn't be more excited!

Why I chose education I chose education as a way to leave my footprint on the world. I believe it is an honor to have the opportunity to shape the minds of our future and help students in their pathways to success.

Why I chose the UNC School of Education After four years of being involved with the UNC School of Education as a Teaching Fellow undergraduate, I knew that it was the only place for me to continue my education. The faculty and programs in themselves are exceptional and I have always felt at home in Peabody Hall.

My experience As a student in the School of Education, I have been challenged to better myself for the sake of my students. I have been exposed to new thoughts and ideas by brilliant professors who truly care about me as a person and as a future educator.

How the Dean E. Smith Scholarship has benefited me The Dean E. Smith Scholarship has allowed me to do my student teaching at the Beijing Royal School. Without Coach Smith's gracious scholarship, this dream would never have been actualized.

My career goals After graduating, I plan to teach for three to four years. Then I hope to pursue a doctoral degree in education with a focus on cultural studies and literacies. Finally, my dream is to work at a university as a teacher educator.

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SHEENA BERRY Recipient of a Carol and William Malloy Travel Award Ph.D. in School Psychology Class of 2015 Manteo, North Carolina

Why I chose school psychology Ever since high school, I have wanted to become a psychologist. My interactions with people from different backgrounds and cultures have shaped my appreciation for individual differences and my desire to use my passion for people to help others who may need support.

Why I chose the UNC School of Education I chose to attend the UNC School of Education because it provided the program and degree I was seeking in the state where I planned on residing and practicing. My program also offers me training within a scientist-practitioner model, which opens doors for future opportunities no matter what career path I take.

My experience I have had such a great, supportive experience here at the UNC School of Education. The training is exceptional and students are encouraged to individualize their education to foster their goals and passions.

How the Carol and William Malloy Travel Award has benefited me The Carol and William Malloy Travel Award allowed me to travel across the United States to give my first presentation at a national convention. This was a unique and exciting experience for me, and the travel award helped make this trip possible.

My career goals I look forward to working in North Carolina as a school psychologist serving families and their children, specifically offering intervention supports between home and school. I hope to be a resource for families with young children to promote positive development and relationships, both before and during the school years.

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SARAH BROADWELL The Willie Hall Kennedy Scholarship A.B.Ed. in Elementary Education, with a Concentration in Mathematics, Science and Technology Class of 2014; Wendell, North Carolina

My background I grew up in a small town about 30 minutes east of Raleigh. I went to school all my life with the same people, and with teachers who were parents' friends, community members and coaches. My mom worked in the same schools and school system, which I believe influenced my decision to pursue education. I played three sports throughout high school and I was involved in several service clubs. I participated in mission trips with my United Methodist Church youth group, which fostered my passion for service.

Why I chose education I chose education because I wanted a career that extended my passion for service. I bounced from major to major during my first two years of college, but education was the one option that always stayed constant in my mind, so I knew it must be the one! I have worked with kids through swim team, summer camp and tutoring, and I love being around them. A belief that I have always held close to my heart is that is if you have the capacity to help someone else in need, you have no reason not to do so. I transfer this belief to education, and I have a desire to help any and every child to reach his or her potential.

How the Willie Hall Kennedy Scholarship has benefited me The Willie Hall Kennedy Scholarship has definitely taken away some of the stress that comes with paying for college. Because of the costs that the scholarship has covered, I have been able to save some money for traveling to Europe this summer. I believe that world experiences are very important for teachers, because these experiences produce a richer cultural perspective and a broader, more informed view of the world. Traveling will help me gain multiple perspectives that will help prepare me to teach any and every child.

My career goals After I graduate, I want to explore North Carolina, the United States and the world beyond Wake County where I grew up. I want to teach in an underserved area and go wherever I am needed most. My passion for service steered me toward the School of Education, and I plan to have a career in service to others.

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NICHOLAS KIRBY Recipient of a Virginia Carter Gobbel Fellowship M.S.A. in School Administration Class of 2014; Centreville, Michigan My background I received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 2006 from the Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. Since then I have taught various grades from kindergarten to ninth grade. For the past four years, I taught kindergarten at Hillsborough Elementary School, which is part of Orange County Schools, N.C. Why I chose education The reason that I chose education was to make a difference in people’s lives by helping them discover a love of learning. This was my personal endeavor and I wanted to share that desire. Being the son of two educators, I knew there was no better way to do this than to be an educator. Why I chose the UNC School of Education I chose the UNC School of Education because of its pursuit of social justice and excellence. Also, the school’s commitment to preparing and supporting leaders in the field of education was something that I wanted to be a part of. My experience My experience at the UNC School of Education has been challenging, engaging and pragmatic. The professors in all my classes have been exceptional and enlightening. The course work that I have been engaged in has taught me additional leadership skills that will prepare me to lead schools in the 21st Century. How the Virginia Carter Gobbel Fellowship has benefited me The Virginia Carter Gobbel Fellowship has been beneficial in reducing the financial burden of paying for graduate school. As a result of this relief, I am able to concentrate exclusively on my studies. My career goals After graduating from Carolina, I will be searching for a position in school administration. At some point in my career, I would like to further my education and pursue a doctorate in a related education field, possibly education politics. I hope to make a positive impact on the field of education through research and analysis of educational politics.

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MARK JOHNSON Recipient of the William Self Graduate Award Ph.D. in Education: Policy, Leadership and School Improvement Class of 2015; Poynton, England

My background I began my teaching career working in a public separate school for students with learning disabilities in Stockport, England. In 2004, I moved to North Carolina through a teacher exchange program. I am currently employed as an assistant principal in Guilford County.

Why I chose the UNC School of Education I chose UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Education based on its strong reputation and on its stated mission. The School of Education is committed to the promotion of educational equity and social justice. I felt that this vision aligned well with my personal philosophy that all children should have equal access to a quality education.

My experience at the School of Education I cannot speak highly enough of UNC’s School of Education. My time spent studying at Peabody Hall has enabled me to grow both academically and professionally. All of my professors have been supportive and accessible. Every class I have taken has further enhanced my understanding of the issues surrounding educational leadership.

How the William Self Graduate Award has benefited me It was a real honor to be selected for this award. Dr. Self’s legacy as an advocate for equal access to educational opportunities for all students is deeply inspirational. The award serves as a reminder of William Self's philosophy and transformative work. It has renewed my determination to make a difference in the world of public education.

My career goals In the future, I hope to graduate with my doctorate and then move into a leadership position that will allow me to positively impact educational policy for students at risk of marginalization. I am particularly interested in advocating for students with special educational needs.

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MARIOS ANTONIOU Recipient, a Carol and William Malloy Travel Award Ph.D. in Education: Culture, Curriculum and Change Class of 2015 Nicosia, Cyprus

Why I chose education I was born and raised in Nicosia, now the last remaining divided capital in the world, in the small island-state of Cyprus. I realized that education plays a crucial role in regenerating conflicts in intractable regions like Cyprus. In my teenage years, some friends and I established a non-governmental organization and tried to bring youth from the two sides together, so they could meet someone from the other side for the first time in their lives, and through structured and facilitated dialogue, they deliberated about the past and the future and the prospects of a reunified island and a life of peace. I realized that these informal educational activities were providing a good outcome but could not reach out to everyone. I decided to study education and try to become a change agent in my country’s educational system. And so, I earned my B.A. in the science of education from the University of Cyprus.

My experience Specifically I am studying how formal education systems in conflicted and post-conflicted countries can construct and promote social peace among their youth, who will be their future citizens. I have found that the School of Education, the faculty and the University provide an excellent environment for learning, research and personal academic growth.

How the Carol and William Malloy Travel Award has benefited me Among the many opportunities that are available through the School of Education and the University, the Carol and William Malloy Travel Award supports students like me by covering costs related to traveling to participate in conferences. I am grateful to have been selected to receive this award, which financially supported my participation in a conference.

My career goals I want to return to my country and become a change agent who will help bring about educational reform in Cyprus based on the principles of peace education.

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KATIE FISCHETTI Recipient of a Gail Bunn Fellowship A.B.Ed. in Elementary Education Class of 2013 Wilmington, North Carolina

My experience At the UNC School of Education, I have been given the opportunity to study under extremely wonderful and qualified professors who have helped me develop my methods for teaching. I have been given the chance to work in four different classroom environments in four different grades. I have been challenged to do my student teaching in rural communities, with support from a generous fellowship. And, I have formed a new family and support network in my cohort.

How the Gail Bunn Fellowship has benefited me The Gail Bunn Fellowship, which is specifically geared toward providing student teachers with opportunities to teach and live in rural communities, is giving me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a UNC student of education. I was overwhelmed with excitement when I learned that I will have the opportunity to do my student teaching in schools that are very different than those I have been in previously. My two student teacher placements—at Pittsboro Elementary School in Chatham County and at Weldon Elementary School in Halifax County—will allow me to learn and practice in rural schools outside of Chapel Hill. I want to know that I can teach children effectively whether I am in a school with extensive resources or one with more limited resources, as is the case in many rural schools. I believe that all children will respond in an environment in which the teacher helps them feel supported, respected and valued. In summary, I want to teach at a rural school because of all the opportunities I will have to learn from the teachers, administrators and children in those communities, and I hope that, by using the knowledge I have gained at the UNC School of Education, maybe I will be able to teach them something as well.

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YANJUN LIU Recipient of the Susan Friel Graduate Stipend Ph.D. in Education: Culture, Curriculum and Change with a Focus on Mathematics Education Class of 2013; Sichuan, China

My background It was my first college part-time job as a tutor that led me to discover my love of teaching. After completing a journalism degree in China, I came to the U.S. to embark on a new journey as an education major at Louisiana Tech University in 2002.

Why I chose the UNC School of Education After having taught for three years in the U.S., I realized that similarities exist between the educational systems of the U.S. and China: from my perspective, both systems encourage a teacher-centered and test-driven approach. In a search for a better understanding of the complexity of the educational field and working toward a change for better education for all children, I chose the School of Education because it is a place that advocates for change.

My experience It is the confidence my advisors and mentors have in me that has motivated me to keep pursuing my goals and refining my skills. The opportunities to both teach and learn have influenced me to develop my own educational philosophy, helping to shape me into the person I will become as a mathematics educator.

How the Susan Friel Graduate Stipend has benefited me The stipend not only covered all expenses while I conducted data collection in an out-of-state school district, but also paid for my academic expenses for two semesters. It has been a big help as I have encountered significant life changes while working on my dissertation research. The stipend has also motivated me to closely examine my personal experience as a teacher and learner, and what it all means to me as I become a mathematics educator and researcher. It has opened a door to a career path that honors all that has made me who I am, and also supports my continual growth as I mature professionally.

My career goals Upon completing my Ph.D., I hope to acquire a mathematics educator position at a university in either the U.S. or China, where I will be able to further my knowledge, and also influence others to change for better education.

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LINDSEY PATTERSON Dean E. Smith Scholarship A.B.Ed. in Elementary Education Class of 2013; Weaverville, N.C.

My background I always loved school, and I participated in seven years of band and 14 years of dance instruction in the Buncombe County School System.

Why I chose education Elementary education is attractive to me because of the wide range of subjects each teacher must cover. I have never had a “favorite” subject so the opportunity to maintain variety is very appealing. I also enjoy spending time with children and really getting to know them. Kids’ lives are so interesting and I think it is great that I will get to be a part of their unique stories.

Why I chose the UNC School of Education I chose to attend UNC because of the wide range of options I would have when it was time to select a major. I am thankful that a good School of Education was available when the time came for me to declare a major!

My experience I have had very caring professors at the School of Education who are genuinely concerned about the success of the students.

How the Dean E. Smith Scholarship has benefited me I was extremely grateful to receive this scholarship last semester! Above all, the Dean E. Smith Scholarship let me know that many people believed in me during a time when I needed support the most. It has eased the burden of paying for the last semester of college, and I am grateful for the monetary assistance, as well as the meaning behind the scholarship.

My career goals I hope to remain in the field of education. I have entertained the possibilities of being a classroom teacher, providing one-on-one tutoring, pursuing licensure to work with students who are academically and intellectually gifted (AIG licensure) or working at an alternative school. I hope to build meaningful relationships with students and have a lasting impact on their lives. I had an important teacher like this in my life, with whom I am still in contact. I hope to offer this kind of support to my future students, no matter my position in the field.

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JERRY BUCKNER Recipient of the Patrick W. and Janet R. Carlton Award for Dissertation Research Ed.D. in Educational Leadership with a focus on student support services Class of 2013 Clemmons, North Carolina My background For nearly 20 years I have worked as a nationally certified school psychologist. Most of my career has been in public schools in the United States; however, I also worked as director of admissions and student services at an international school in Hong Kong, China. One of the highlights of my career was designing a program for special needs students in China. Why I chose education Education runs deep in my family. My grandparents were educators in the mountains of N.C. My parents are former educators. Working as an educator is a part of my heritage. My interest has always been psychology and education; school psychology was a good fit. How the Patrick and Janet Carlton Award has benefited me Their award helped validate the sacrifices my family and I have made so I could complete my doctoral studies, and it renewed my determination to stay focused until the last chapter was done. This award reflects generosity and thoughtfulness. The fact that they remember what it was like to be a doctoral student and then are willing to give back to help other students is amazing and humbling. My career goals I have a deep desire to continue my work as a leader and scholar in student support services. My passion is to work with families of students who are marginalized or disabled, particularly those living in countries outside the U.S. While I am well aware that we have many needs here at home, I am convinced that U.S. schools already have an amazing (albeit financially lean) infrastructure to assist families in need. As a child, I grew up in Southeast Asia and I have seen a world that is vastly different from what we have come to expect here in N.C. I want to live outside my comfort zone because I believe that is where a life of service can be the most rewarding.

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KATE GOODEN A recipient of a Dean E. Smith Scholarship Bachelor of Arts in Biology in UNC-BEST program Class of 2013; Matthews, North Carolina

My background In high school, I was on the yearbook staff and thought about majoring in journalism, but just before I got to Carolina I decided that I’d rather focus on my interest in science. I also played soccer for many years.

Why I chose education I chose education because I knew that I wanted to work in a scientific field but I also really wanted to work with people. Education just made sense. I had many amazing teachers who inspired me. I wanted to try to be that person for someone else.

Why I chose the UNC School of Education I am a part of the UNC-BEST program, which allows me to earn my biology degree while I complete my teacher licensure requirements. This program lets me get the best of both worlds: science and education.

How the Dean E. Smith Scholarship has benefited me The Dean E. Smith Scholarship has helped cover my expenses during my student-teaching semester. This semester has been very tough because I haven’t been able to continue working in my part-time job due to the demands of teaching full time. The scholarship has been a huge help in paying for the day-to-day expenses that would normally be covered by my income from my job.

Other significant scholarships, fellowships, awards and honors I was awarded the Burroughs-Wellcome Scholarship for my junior and senior years. It is helping me pay back my student loans. I was also able to complete the Howard Hughes Medical Institute-Future Teachers summer internship, which gave me the opportunity to work in a genomics laboratory here at UNC while creating an online learning module for high school students.

My career goals I hope to teach high school science in the Wake County area for a few years before going back to school to earn a master’s degree in education.

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JENNIFER KOLB The W.D. Perry Award M.Ed. in School Counseling Class of 2012; Framingham, Mass. My background In high school, I was heavily involved in soccer and track. I would say being active and participating in competitive sports was my number one interest while growing up. I also enjoyed playing the piano and pretending I was a concert pianist, even though I never had any lessons (and therefore wasn’t any good!). For college, I went to Harvard and studied psychology. I graduated in 2006 and worked in finance for five years. During that time, I discovered through volunteering that I really loved working with kids, especially in a one-on-one, mentoring capacity. I decided that I wanted to go back to school to get a degree in education. After completing my master’s degree last summer, I am now working at the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at UNC-Chapel Hill. Why I chose the UNC School of Education I chose UNC-Chapel Hill because it has the best reputation in the area for delivering a first-rate education. I also knew that the School of Education specifically is very highly respected by high schools (i.e., potential employers) in the area. As an added incentive, I received a merit assistantship covering the full cost of tuition, plus a stipend. My experience My year of study in the school counseling master’s program was a very intense and fulfilling experience. I learned so much about the school counseling profession and about myself. The school counseling program pushed me in ways I’ve never been pushed before, from working on my ability to communicate and build relationships with people from backgrounds totally different from my own, to becoming more introspective about my own feelings and values. I left UNC with a very strong professional and personal network comprised of my cohort, professors and internship advisors. I am very grateful for the time I spent as a graduate student at UNC-Chapel Hill! How the W. D. Perry Award has benefited me I worked very hard last year and the W. D. Perry Award was a wonderful recognition for all of that hard work. It meant so much to me to be recognized by my peers, professors and internship advisor. The plaque is currently hanging on my office wall.

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JOSEPH SHELLEY Recipient of the V. Mayo and Norma Melvin Bundy Scholarship A.B.Ed. in Elementary Education Class of 2014 Greensboro, North Carolina

My experience At the UNC School of Education, I have been challenged to think for myself and develop my ability to collaborate and interact with classmates who do not share some of my opinions. I believe that these experiences are preparing me for resolving conflicts that might arise in the future after I enter the workforce. In addition, I have gotten to know many bright future teachers with whom I can share ideas. Having this community of peers when I enter my own classroom will surely benefit me and my students in the future. Since I was homeschooled and had not set foot in an elementary school until I was a college student, my practicum experiences at local elementary schools have been especially beneficial in molding my view of teaching. How the V. Mayo and Norma Melvin Bundy Scholarship has benefited me The money from the scholarship is obviously extremely beneficial in helping me cover the costs of my education, and I am very thankful for that. But beyond the financial support, I have been truly inspired by the story of the Bundy family and their contributions to education. I was excited to learn that Norma Bundy taught math at Guilford Technical Community College because my favorite teacher in high school was a math teacher, who also taught at Guilford Tech. The Bundy family has done so much for my home county (Guilford) and my University, and I count it an honor to benefit from their generosity and to continue in their footsteps. My career goals Following graduation, I plan either to begin teaching in a public school in Durham or Guilford County, or to enter a master’s program focusing on urban education, which is a special interest of mine. Either way, I hope to end up teaching in a North Carolina public school. It is very important to me to become the best teacher I can be for my students. I want the kids I teach to excel, then to go on to graduate from high school and subsequently have the opportunity to attend a college or university where they can develop skills and have a choice about what their careers will be.

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CAMILA DOSSANTOS Recipient of the Nancy Blanche Norman Scholarship M.Ed. in School Counseling Class of 2013; Union, New Jersey Why I chose education As a criminology major, I was unable to develop meaningful relationships with young adults as I often dealt with them after they had entered the criminal justice system. I decided that the best place to help youth succeed was within a school. As a school counselor, I will be better able to make a difference in the lives of students. Why I chose the UNC School of Education I chose the UNC School of Education because of its extraordinary reputation. In addition, the School Counseling program is unique in the sense that students receive personal attention and are able to develop supportive relationships with their professors. Finally, the year-long internship in a school provides me with the real-world experience that is required for success in the world of work. My experience My experience has been nothing short of exceptional. Not only do I enjoy my time as a graduate student at UNC, but also my classmates and I are being thoroughly prepared for our future work as school counselors. I feel confident that after completing the UNC School Counseling program, I will be able to succeed as a school counselor in any school setting. My career goals After I graduate, my goal is to obtain employment as a school counselor in a high-needs, urban school district. I hope to transform students’ lives through a comprehensive developmental school counseling program that advocates for their needs and recognizes their achievements. In the long run, I see myself as a principal of a school.

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ERIN LIEDER Dean E. Smith Scholarship A.B.Ed. in Middle Grades Education Class of 2014 Asheville, North Carolina

My background I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina. During high school, I was very active in my school and community, playing sports, volunteering at my church and organizations. My dad played basketball at Virginia Tech so I am the first Tar Heel of my family and proud of it!

Why I chose education In school, I was always the one to explain how to do homework to my classmates, especially in the subject area of math. I’ve enjoyed the study of mathematics at UNC and cannot wait to develop lesson plans and demonstrate my love of the subject to my future students!

My experience at the UNC School of Education The professors are helpful and extremely knowledgeable in their content area. They have a passion for teaching and for preparing us in the best way that they can. I look forward to getting further into courses in my content area next year and getting ready to start my student teaching.

How the Dean E. Smith Scholarship has benefited me I cannot thank Dean Smith and his family enough for providing support to the School of Education for students such as myself to be able to be one step closer to becoming educators for the leaders of our future. This year as a junior, I have been working about 30 hours per week to be able to support myself as well going to school full time. Next year, the amount of time we will spend in the field will limit my ability to work, and the scholarship will help supplement my income for groceries and rent.

My career goals After I graduate, I hope to become a full-time teacher at an elementary or middle school in North Carolina and continue my education by pursuing a master’s degree.

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COURTNEY CLAPP Recipient of the Carole and Samuel Roebuck Scholarship M. Ed. For Experienced Teachers with a Concentration in Literacy for Grades K-12 Class of 2014 Durham, North Carolina

My background I grew up in western N.C. and have always been interested in teaching. I worked as a camp counselor and piano teacher in high school and college. I received my undergraduate degree in education at Carolina and have taught in Black Mountain and Chapel Hill schools over the past eight years.

Why I chose education I come from a family of teachers and grew up hoping to be a teacher like my mother. I toyed with the idea of teaching piano lessons privately or becoming an elementary school music teacher. Eventually, I decided that I wanted to be able to teach a variety of subjects, so elementary classroom teaching was the obvious choice for me.

My experience The past year has been one of the most enriching learning opportunities I have had in my career as a teacher. I have enjoyed my class sessions and have been able to immediately use what I have learned in the classroom. The relationships I am building with other teachers have become extremely important and have sustained me as I juggle the loads of both classroom teaching and graduate school coursework. The foundational coursework at the beginning of the program has provided me with an incredible perspective on my role as an advocate for my students.

How the Carole and Samuel Roebuck Scholarship has benefited me I have been able to concentrate more fully on my graduate coursework and on teaching my current students. I was initially reluctant to go back to school, knowing that it would be an expensive undertaking, and I feel extremely blessed to be able to devote myself to my studies without the added financial stress weighing on me. I am extremely thankful to Mr. and Mrs. Roebuck for their generosity and support.

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AMBER FISCHER Robert Wendell Eaves, Sr. Scholarship A.B.Ed. in Elementary Education Class of 2013 Hendersonville, North Carolina

My background As a child, I ALWAYS loved to “play” school. I lived next to a house of 10 children and we would sit in my backyard shed and take turns being the students and the teacher. In addition, when I studied theater, I was surprised to discover that I love the subject and I love acting, even though I am a shy person. I find that I constantly use my acting skills when I teach because like improv actors, teachers need to be able to come up with examples and answer questions on the spot.

Why I chose education I want to make a difference in the world and help shape the future. Children are our future and no matter which profession a person is in, it started in a classroom.

My experience UNC offered me strong financial support and welcomed my diverse ideas. My experience at the School has been phenomenal. I have met some amazing individuals! It is refreshing to share ideas and learn as a group, rather than feeling alone in this big world of education. I also appreciate that my field experiences have progressed from a few hours in a classroom, to half days, to full days and now to full-time teaching. This path has been a smooth transition for me. Through my experiences, I have grown as a person and as a teacher.

How the Robert Wendell Eaves, Sr. Scholarship has benefited me The Eaves Scholarship was a blessing. The support has helped pay for gas for my daily commute during student teaching, and to purchase some professional attire. Thank you!

My career goals After graduation, I plan to move back to the mountains of North Carolina and teach at an elementary school. After teaching for a few years, I hope to earn a master’s degree in elementary education or possibly in administration.

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UNC School of Education Student Profiles