In celebration of a decade of providing flexible online education to Hoosiers, WGU Indiana is continuing to award $10,000 scholarships to 10 students, an opportunity that has the potential to cover almost the entire cost of a degree. Jennifer Freeze of Goshen, Indiana, is the second scholarship recipient, and this award supports her journey toward a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education with teaching licensure.
Jennifer is currently an instructional collaborator at a local elementary school in Goshen. In her role, she assists mentor teachers when they shadow other instructors and also works on math, reading and writing lessons with the students. She also enjoys working with Tier 3 students through intervention and one-on-one work to help improve their writing, reading, and math skills. This passion for watching students learn as well as support from her coworkers inspired her to complete her degree and receive a teaching license so that she could one day have her own classroom of young students.
She began her degree pursuit with WGU Indiana on July 1 and hopes to earn her degree within two years. As a mom of four children, Jennifer has found that WGU Indiana works perfectly for her and her family—both competency-based learning and online classes fit into her busy schedule and allow her to be present for the most important moments in her family’s lives.
How will the 10th Anniversary Scholarship support your journey toward earning a degree?
I first learned about this scholarship as I was enrolling at WGU Indiana. I qualified, so I figured I might as well apply, but I didn’t think much of it afterward. When I learned I had received this scholarship, I was completely dumbfounded. I’m not someone who ever wins things, so I had to call my mentor to make sure it really happened. As someone with four kids, this was unbelievable and opened up so many opportunities for me and my family. This scholarship has helped lift the burden of day-to-day expenses while allowing me to pursue my dreams while my husband and children also pursue theirs.
My husband is in school now, too. We both felt the need to finish our degrees, and this scholarship has allowed me to return to school in order to follow my passion of working with kids and leading my own classroom. It is my hope that through completing my degree with WGU Indiana, my kids see that anything is possible and they can pursue whatever they want in life if they set their mind to it.
How did you know that elementary education was the right career path for you?
I started working with kids when I was 16 for an after-school program. When I initially went to college, I switched degree paths multiple times and eventually earned a degree in business administration with a focus on hospitality and tourism. However, something always led me back to working with kids. I also have a degree in early childhood education. After working in the field of early childhood education for 15 years and in a daycare setting teaching infants to preschool children, I realized that I wanted to work with older children in an educational setting. I wanted to find a way to foster that passion in a new way. I subbed for a few months before deciding to formally pursue a career in elementary education.
What is your goal after earning your degree?
Originally, my dream was to be a director at an early childhood education center. As I moved through different career paths, my passion always came back to education and helping children learn and grow. Ideally, I’d enjoy having my own classroom in the future and working with students in the upper elementary grades. My background is with younger kids, but I’d love a new challenge. Eventually, I’d like to move up to a mentor teacher position, as well.
What recommendations would you give to future WGU Indiana students?
My advice would be to not believe or accept any obstacles when you’re following your dreams. If you’re totally committed to a goal, you’ll be able to overcome anything that stands in your way in order to achieve it. Ultimately, if it’s in your heart, you should follow it, no matter how hard it gets, and you’ll be able to succeed.
Applications for the 10th Anniversary Scholarship are currently being accepted and will be awarded on a rolling basis throughout the year. The deadline for this scholarship is May 31, 2021, and students must apply for admission prior to submitting their application. To learn more about the 10th Anniversary Scholarship and to apply, visit indiana.wgu.edu/10x10.