As an Iowan who aspires to be a teacher and a principal, UNI senior Dakota Lamonica made the right college decision.
Currently, more than 37 percent of school administrators and 33 percent of pre-K through 12 teachers in Iowa are graduates of the University of Northern Iowa. Lamonica hopes to stay in Iowa after graduation.
“I'll definitely be staying in Iowa after I graduate,” said Lamonica. “You can't predict the future but I love Iowa. I love the values, I love the people. Stuff like that you can't just get anywhere. The values it has instilled in me is how to treat people with respect, work hard, and be polite. That's something that not everyone gets.”
The Lonetree, Iowa, native hopes to begin her teaching by educating second through fifth graders within an elementary school system.
“I really love elementary and feel like the students grow so much emotionally and socially,” said Lamonica. “They change so fast and are always going. I specifically like the second to fifth grade range because they know how to read, they are excited to read, and want to learn about everything. I love how their brains are little sponges.”
Lamonica hopes to continue her education after working in the field as a teacher in hopes of becoming a principal.
“It's something that I think would be a big dream,” Lamonica said. “I would love to manage all the teachers and be able to give them fun ideas and opportunity. You get to make learning fun and impact everyone including, teachers, all grades and families.”
Regardless of whether she is serving as a teacher or a principal, UNI has shaped Lamonica’s thoughts on makes a good educator.
“Having a caring heart and knowing the students are actually people and not just a machine,” said Lamonica. “If you can connect with your students so they always know the door is open for anyone to just pop in. I think it is really important to build a community within the school.”
Lamonica’s has been able to pursue her dreams at the University of Northern Iowa thanks to scholarship support. She is a recipient of the Roy J. Carver Scholarship.
“When I opened the envelope that I got in the mail and sat down to start reading it, I cried because I was so overjoyed with feelings of blessing and relief,” Lamonica said. “The scholarship gave me time to focus and dig deep into my studies. It made it manageable, and I was able to take a minute and breathe without going nonstop.”
Do you want to make a difference in the lives of UNI students like Lamonica? Learn how you can make an impact at uni-foundation.org.
“It's just a huge relief and blessing knowing that people are willing to donate some of their money or time,” said Lamonica. “It makes differences happen every day. A little bit goes a long way without even knowing.”