Teachers make a lasting impact. Bailey Wonders is proof.
Wonders, a senior early childhood education major at the University of Northern Iowa, is pursuing a teaching career after observing the passion of other teachers. It was something Wonders knew she wanted to be part of.
“Teachers cared about me and where I am going with my life, and I want to turn around and be that way for other kids,” said Wonders. “They give you a message that you can do this! I had teachers that really showed they believed in me. I want to have that same impact. I want to give students experiences that are meaningful.”
As a result, Wonders plans to works with early childhood special education students.
“I think I will always want to be with kids,” said Wonders. “Children boost up my confidence and happiness. I just want to impact the lives of kids, and the best way for me to do that is by being in a classroom with them.”
Wonders chose UNI because of its nationally recognized education program, and due to a few of her former teachers being Panthers themselves. Since arriving on campus, Wonders' time at UNI has been bettered by scholarship support. Wonders, an only child of a single mother, is the recipient of the Arlene Estes Scholarship and Roy J. Carver Scholarship.
“I was surprised and excited (when I received the scholarships),” Wonders said. “I knew it was taking a huge load off my back because my mom can't afford to pay for my college education, and I didn't want to pull out loans. It gave me the opportunity to live on campus and take the classes I needed to. Plus it helped me not worry about finances as much.”
The financial freedom also allowed Wonders to get involved with numerous student organizations. She is involved with Phi Sigma Pi, Students in Childhood Education (SICE), Dance Marathon and the Panther Village Activity Board, among others.
Wonders said, “I feel like I would have been bored and not have made any friends without getting involved. I wanted a meaningful experience here at UNI. I think joining all these clubs have enhanced my experience in the classroom because I have more background knowledge now. The classes ended up being more fun to me, and I was able to help others.”
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“Scholarships give students the opportunity to shine and not be burdened by financial worries.” Wonders said. “They help students feel like they are at home and being able to get involved, giving them the opportunity to thrive at the University of Northern Iowa.”