University of Northern Iowa senior John Gogola wants to shape the future of the next generation. Gogola, a Social Science Teaching major from Cedar Falls, Iowa, believes that the best way to do that is to teach high school students.
“I decided my senior year of high school that I wanted to teach,” said Gogola. “I want to impact future generations, and I thought teaching would be a great way to do that. I never really realized the impact that teachers make on students.”
Teachers at Cedar Falls High School helped Gogola through family struggles while he was a student. The teachers served as mentors and role models who were eager to listen. The impact the teachers had on Gogola encouraged him to pursue a teaching career and showed him the type of teacher he wanted to be.
“There are some things you can’t talk to your family about or perhaps your family is the problem,” Gogola said. “It’s better to have someone who you can talk to who is completely separate, has a different life experience and just cares about your well-being. I want to be that person for future generations.”
Besides wanting to make an impact on students within a classroom setting, Gogola also wants to influence future generations as a coach. Gogola, who minors in Coaching, is already perfecting his coaching skills. He serves as an assistant sophomore baseball coach at Waterloo West High School -- a role he has held for four seasons.
“I love to teach kids, see them succeed and get better,” said Gogola. “Coaching allows me to stay involved with the game that I love, as well as pass my passion down to future generations.”
UNI is the perfect place for Gogola to pursue his teaching and coaching goals, offering some of the most innovative teacher education programs in the country. The Alderman Scholarship funds a large part of that education, something Gogola is very appreciative of.
“To be able to get a scholarship that big is something you don’t expect,” Gogola said. “You always hope for it, but you never expect that you are going to get it. It was a big relief because I knew right away what that would mean financially.”
In addition to going to school and coaching, Gogola works 20-30 hours per week in the school’s Financial Aid office and is active within the Sigma Pi Epsilon fraternity. If you are interested in providing scholarship for students like him, please visit uni-foundation.org.