Dustin Gehring wants to be a teacher. The path to his goal includes a daily 120-mile round trip from Marengo, Iowa, to Cedar Falls, Iowa. For him, an education from the University of Northern Iowa is worth the miles.
“I always knew that UNI had a reputation for being the best teacher school in Iowa,” said Gehring. “Even though I was going to commute every day, I knew if I wanted to go to the best school for what I want to be I was going to have to do it.”
Gehring, a non-traditional student at UNI, came to campus after working at a warehouse, as a jailor and as a police officer after graduating from Iowa Valley High School in 1998. He attended Kirkwood Community College prior to UNI.
Currently a junior at UNI, Gehring plans to teach history in a middle school after earning his college degree.
“My interest in history started with my Dad,” Gehring said. “That was something that he and I could connect with, and it was something that we talked about all the time. I also had a history teacher in high school that made history fun, and I really enjoyed that.”
In addition to commuting and studying, Gehring also volunteers as a football coach at Iowa Valley and is the father to three boys. He hopes his hard work is setting an example his children can follow in the future.
“When I graduate, I want my boys to see the rewards that go with it,” said Gehring. “You have to take pride in your work, you have to see that it‘s a means to an end, you have to get there and then there’s something else waiting for you. I want them to see that success can be achieved with hard work.”
Gehring is a recipient of the Alderman Scholarship – a scholarship that assists needy, worthy and appreciative students within the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. This financial support has allowed Gehring to worry less on his drives to and from campus, and feel more involved when he is on campus.
Gehring concluded, “I had to have my wife look at it when I received the award letter to make sure I was reading it correctly! When you get an award like that, you realize you’re recognized, too, and not an outsider (as a non-traditional student). It made me feel more included.”
Interested in helping UNI students like Dustin? Discover how you can provide life-changing opportunities for UNI students at uni-foundation.org.