Scholarships Breakfast celebrates donors who make education degrees accessible

By

Erik Ketcherside

On October 10, 21 students earning degrees from Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College with the help of scholarships had the opportunity to thank their benefactors face-to-face. The first MLFTC Scholarships Breakfast was also an occasion for scholarship donors, many of them alumni of the college, to meet the next generation of educators and compare ideas and experience.

Williams Caraveo, a sophomore working toward the Bachelor of Arts in Education degree in Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education, is interested in working with autistic students. Caraveo was able to share with donors how the Ellen Rose Anatole Scholarship allowed him to stay in school.

“I had taken on a lot of debt before I applied for scholarships,” Caraveo admitted. “Almost 90 percent of my college costs had been paid for with loans because I saw a scholarship as a huge obstacle that only certain people could qualify for, so I never even tried. But I had to take a summer class this year and I was out of money. If I didn't take the class I couldn't continue with the degree, so I applied and got the Anatole scholarship.”

Caraveo says the scholarship eased the stress not only of staying in school, but of what comes after.

“I was very afraid that when I'm out in the field teaching and trying to pay the loans back I would be overwhelmed,” Caraveo says. “So when I got that the scholarship, it felt like it was a reward for all the hard work I’ve been doing.”

MLFTC Dean Carole Basile told attendees that stories like Caraveo’s aren’t uncommon, and that the college is committed to ensuring those students can finish a degree. Basile noted that commitment is engraved in stone on every ASU campus as part of the university’s charter: “... measured not by whom we exclude, but by whom we include and how they succeed.”

“Our students include a great many people who may not have had an opportunity to go to college if it were not for many of the other people who are sitting in this room,” Basile told the attendees, “people who also believe that who we include is very important.”

This year, 291 MLFTC students received scholarships for a total of $1.3 million in aid. Donors at the breakfast learned that more than $700,000 of that aid was made possible by private donations like theirs.

The Scholarships Breakfast was also an opportunity for current students to compare notes with alumni. Valencia Clement, a first-year PhD student in Educational Policy and Evaluation newly arrived from Vanderbilt University, connected with MLFTC Professor Emeritus Joseph Ryan, whose areas of expertise include research testing and measurement. “We went full nerd,” Clement says. “It was great.”

She also expressed her appreciation for the college’s commitment to accessibility for all students. “A lot of institutions talk about diversity more broadly and having different people in the room,” Clement says, “but this event is a manifestation of that. It's genuine. We’re saying, ‘People are included and these are the steps we take to be sure that different people can be transformed by education.’ In my opinion, that’s the purpose of the college.”

Into the cell graphic

Russell Semmler and Williams Caraveo talk with Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College Dean Carole Basile at the Oct. 10 Scholarships Breakfast.

Secondary Education major (biological sciences) Lilyann Myers talks with Phyllis Saylor (BAE, Physical Education, '53).

PhD student Valencia Clement (right) talks with MLFTC Professor Emeritus Joseph Ryan.

Joseph Ryan and Valencia Clement

Patrick Hall and Lilyann Myers at the Oct. 10 Scholarships Breakfast.