Endowment encourages students to become teachers



By Alex Cragun, Staff Writer

Students in the College of Science can apply for a scholarship funded by a $100,000 endowment donated to encourage students to consider careers in education.

The fund, which was donated by Don and Rebecca Reese, provides two students with a $2,000 scholarship every year.

“This scholarship is one way that Rebecca and I have chosen to show our appreciation for the educational opportunities we received through the public education system in (Utah) and for the many caring and hardworking teachers and professors who taught us,” Don Reese said in a statement.

Reese, a dermatologist in Utah who graduated from the U in chemistry and from the U’s medical school, donated the money to the College of Science last year.

David Page, a senior in biology secondary education, received the first Don and Rebecca Reese Endowed Scholarship last year to help him reach his goal of teaching high school biology. Page used the money to pay his tuition this year. He plans to graduate in 2010.

The U needs to encourage students to teach science and math in secondary schools, said Pierre Sokolsky, dean of the College of Science.

“Currently, there is a shortfall in middle school and high school teachers,” he said.

He said Utah really needs another 200 teachers every year.

The scholarships are awarded to juniors, seniors and graduate students who are committed to teaching science and math in Utah schools.

To be eligible for the scholarship, a student must be a full-time undergraduate at the U majoring in the sciences or enrolled in the College of Science Masters of Science Degree Program for Secondary School Teachers in Science and Mathematics.

Students who have tuition-waiver scholarships are not eligible, said Jeff Driggs, director of development for the College of Science.

“(The scholarship) will encourage more interest in becoming a teacher in public education,” Driggs said.

Driggs said the scholarship is a reward for students who have chosen a teaching profession despite the limited income.

Interested students need to send in the application with two letters of recommendation and a two-page essay describing their career objectives and goals and why they want to teach.

The scholarship is part of Sokolsky’s vision for colleges and universities in Utah.

Sokolsky said he believes higher education institutions in Utah such as the U should produce more science and math teachers for primary and secondary school systems in Utah.

Sokolosky said that if the U provides quality teachers for K-12 education, more elementary and junior high school students will take an interest in science.

The U is proactive in research, and should show stronger interest in preparing teachers to educate younger generations, Sokolsky said.

The deadline for the scholarship is Feb. 22.

For more information about the scholarship, call 801-581-6958 or visit the College of Science Web site at www.science.utah.edu.

a.cragun@chronicle.utah.edu