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UTSA student achieves dream, receives statewide scholarship

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For nearly two decades, Kathryn Brickley has dreamt of becoming a history teacher. Now, the senior history major and secondary certification student is in the home stretch of completing her degree and obtaining her teaching certification that has been years in the making.

"I have been taking college classes for 17 years, trying to finish my degree and complete my teacher certification," said Brickley. "I am so excited to finally become a history teacher."

Brickley fell in love with history at a young age, after a family trip to the Salem Witch Museum in Salem, Mass. But it wasn't until she was in high school that she knew she wanted to channel her passion for history into teaching, inspired by a teacher of her own.

"Mr. David Hazlet, my U.S. History teacher, was passionate about his subject and his enthusiasm was contagious. He was the first teacher to tell me that he believed in me, and the first person to tell me that college was an option for me," said Brickley. "Mr. Hazlet completely changed my life, and I realized that I wanted to be 'that person' for students of my own one day."

When she was a senior in high school, she planned to go to college after graduation to become a history teacher, much like Hazlet, but her plans quickly changed. Following the September 11th attacks, she enlisted in the United States Air Force, putting college, and her teaching dreams, on hold to serve the country.

After traveling across the country as a member of the U.S. Air Force, Brickley landed at UTSA in the spring of 2016, ready to finish her degree. She enrolled as a history major in the College of Liberal and Fine Arts and in the secondary certification program in the College of Education and Human Development.

"Prior to my enrollment in the teacher certification program, I knew that I wanted to teach history, but I had no idea how to actually do that," said Brickley. "UTSA has an amazing teacher certification program, and I have learned so much from my instructors, including different teaching methods and pedagogy, classroom management, curriculum development, and also teaching for social justice."

Recently, Brickley received the Ann Rogers Scholarship for Student Teachers of Social Studies from the Texas Social Studies Supervisors Association (TSSSA). The scholarship is awarded annually to one student currently doing their student teaching in social studies.

"I feel incredibly honored to be the recipient of the Ann Rogers Scholarship Award. There are so many amazing social studies student teachers, and I know that I was going up against some top-notch applicants," said Brickley. "It's exciting to have my commitment to the field of teaching social studies recognized by others, and just reinvigorates my determination to be the best history teacher that I can possibly be."

"Kathryn gets it, she's going to be an amazing teacher" said Dr. Zaid Haddad, assistant professor in the Department of Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching, about nominating her for the scholarship award. "She was able to put together the intricacies of planning, delivering and assessing Social Studies while being aware of and acknowledging the nuance and self-understanding needed to work with culturally diverse students."

Brickley will receive the scholarship award at a special TSSSA luncheon in Austin.

"This scholarship means so much to me because it allows me to fully commit myself to my student teaching," she said. "I have two children in elementary school, and because I am completing student teaching in a middle school, I can't be home to be with my own children right after school.  This scholarship is helping me pay for their enrollment in Learning Tree, which is an after-care program provided by their school. Thanks to this scholarship, I can focus my attention on learning to be a great Social Studies teacher because I know that my children are being cared for in a caring, academically-focused after school program."

Brickley will graduate from UTSA this May with her bachelor's degree in history and teacher certification in 7-12 history, and plans to finally become the history teacher she's always dreamed of being.

"I want to share my love of History with students, and provide them with compassion, kindness, and support.  I want to inspire students and help them learn, not just about history, but about themselves as well," she said. "I finally found my home at UTSA, and I am incredibly grateful for the educational experience that I have had at UTSA. The College of Education and Human Development has helped to make my dream of becoming a teacher a reality."

Photo courtesy of Kathryn Brickley.

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UTSA College of Education and Human Development

Phone: 210-458-4370