Two moments guided Shannon Carlson to becoming a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa. The first happened seven years after Carlson decided to terminate her studies at a community college.
“I was visiting my mom, who is a teacher, and one of her students needed help with her science homework,” said Carlson. “I helped her. I was able to break it down and make it understandable for her. That made me realize; this is what I want to do with my life. From that moment on, I was on the road to becoming a teacher.”
The road to becoming a teacher included plenty of obstacles for Carlson. First, she had to brush up on her academic skills so she enrolled in Muscatine Community College. She completed her studies and then had to make another choice.
Carlson, a Muscatine, Iowa native, had to choose where to pursue her teaching degree. She decided to stay close to her hometown and attend St. Ambrose in Davenport, Iowa.
That is when the second moment happened. After speaking with a Human Relations professional, she realized the University of Northern Iowa was where she needed to earn her teaching degree.
“She talked about how employers look at what school you went to when you apply for a job,” Carlson said. “She told me that if I wanted to be a teacher, I should go to the school that is most well known in the state for their education program. So, I transferred to UNI.”
The final road block for Carlson was funding her education. Carlson, one of four kids, is financially responsible for her college education. In addition to working on-campus at the Science Education Resource Center, Carlson received the Carver Scholarship. This covered enough of her tuition to make it possible for her to focus on her education.
“It was a great relief. It allowed me to come up here, live, go to school and not worry about things. It really allowed me to be academically successful, as well as form friendships that I will have for the rest of my life.”
Carlson, an All Science Teaching major, never looked back. She finished her course work in the spring of 2014 and graduated after completing her student teaching in Cedar Falls during the fall semester.
Interested in providing scholarship support to students like Shannon? Visit http://www.uni-foundation.org/.