SARASOTA, Fla. (May 1, 2017) – USF Sarasota-Manatee is welcoming two new scholarship donors, one that wants to honor veterans and their families and another that’s trying to encourage more students to become public school teachers.
The Sarasota chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa, a society of professional women teachers, says it wants to help USFSM students considering careers in the teaching profession.
“One of our major goals is to provide excellence in education. Given the challenges teachers face, especially young teachers, we thought it would be helpful to offer this scholarship to encourage young people who are trying to become teachers,” said Joan Tatum, an Alpha Delta Kappa advisor and past president.
Previously, the chapter awarded scholarships to high school graduates who had considered teaching careers. Although most grant recipients followed through and became teachers, many changed course and pursued other vocations.
To ensure its scholarships reach future teachers, the chapter last year introduced a $1,000 scholarship eligible to students enrolled in teaching courses at USFSM’s School of Education.
“That way we’re looking at more mature scholarship candidates,” Tatum said.
The group agreed to start with a five-year plan of $1,000 per year, but it hopes to expand that. Just this past month, it awarded its first USFSM scholarship.
“I was completely shocked by it,” said third-year elementary education student Randi Sheehan, who applied for the Alpha Delta Kappa scholarship in February.
Entering her senior year in the fall, Sheehan said the funds will offset costs for books and other materials.
“My husband (Bryan) is working two and three jobs so I can go to school fulltime,” Sheehan, 34, a mother of three, said. “This definitely helps. It’s been a huge weight lifted off our shoulders.”
Sheehan said she’s always loved the teaching profession and previously worked in a pre-school setting when she caught the teaching bug.
“I just love working with children,” she said. “I like when you help them understand something and you see that lightbulb go off. It’s a rewarding feeling.”
Joining Alpha Delta Kappa as a new USFSM donor is Professionals Assisting Military Families & Friends (PAMFF).
In March, the group made a one-time donation of $14,277 to support student veterans and active military members enrolled at the campus. The bulk of that – $10,000 – will go toward creating a new fund called the Joyce Rubin PAMFF Veterans Scholarship.
Joyce Rubin, who died last Nov. 11 on Veterans Day, was the spouse of a World War II veteran, Harris Rubin.
A mental health counselor, Joyce Rubin was deeply concerned about veterans’ causes, in particular for families with sons, daughters, siblings or parents deployed to war zones and other dangerous areas. This concern prompted her to co-found PAMFF, a local family support network, eight years ago.
When she died – a month after her husband passed away – PAMFF’s members thought it was appropriate to use the organization’s remaining funds to create a scholarship in Rubin’s name. The idea was to honor Rubin for her support of veterans’ families while helping student veterans.
“We were hoping her family will donate beyond the $10,000 to keep it going in her memory,” said Linda Welch, PAMFF’s former secretary. “She was so passionate about helping veterans’ families.”
The first beneficiary will be named this fall.
In addition to establishing the Joyce Rubin PAMFF Veterans Scholarship, the group also donated $2,777 to the USFSM Veterans Legacy Endowment, $1,000 to the Next Greatest Generation Veterans Growth Fund and $500 to the Next Greatest Generation Veterans Operating Fund.
“We think Joyce would have liked this,” Welch said.
About USF Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM)
USF Sarasota-Manatee is a regional campus of the University of South Florida system, offering the prestige of a nationally ranked research university with the convenience of a hometown location, including classes in Manatee County, Venice and online. Separately accredited, USFSM is ideal for those interested in pursuing a baccalaureate or master’s degree, professional certification, or continuing education credit in a small, personal setting with distinguished faculty and a dynamic curriculum of over 40 academic programs. Website: www.usfsm.edu.