Jacob (Jake) has an undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Michigan and has a strong interest in research. He explored graduate programs in speech and language pathology, looking for one that would encourage research and would be part of a community setting that would provide him with opportunities to be involved in working with children with special needs, specifically autism. Eastern Michigan University seemed like the perfect match!
Jake’s expectation of EMU has been “met and surpassed”. In his program here, he has had many experiences with the children at the Autism Collaborative Center and is currently involved in a research project.
Jake applied for the Brehm Scholarship not only because of the financial assistance, but also for the involvement in the research opportunities afforded him through this scholarship. He wrote that this scholarship will “bring me closer to accomplishing several career goals I have set for myself since beginning my ‘new’ life in college.”
John comes from a family of educators and, as a high school student, had the experience of working with a young woman with cerebral palsy. He began his college career, but took time out to go to England. There he discovered a new passion, cooking. He returned to the US, finished his degree, and worked in the Culinary Department at Washtenaw Community College for four years. It was here that he discovered that his passion for teaching had never gone away; “it just took a nap”.
John had several experiences working with children with special needs, and admission into the SEM-T program at EMU to obtain his teaching certificate and endorsement in cognitive impairment seemed like the perfect path for him. John is the president of the Student Council for Exceptional Children and has been instrumental in this organization’s work on EMU’s campus. He is an intern with the Mott Family Network, helping to put assistive technology into the needing and deserving hands of children at Mott Children’s Hospital.
John’s plans for his future include being a teacher of children with special needs. He also has a dream of returning to England, perhaps in an administrative role, to impact the special education system there. Ultimately, John would like to teach at a university and he hopes to inspire others the way that his instructors have inspired him.
Kevin earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in resource ecology and management. He spent the next two years with the Peace Corps in service to the Toubkal National Park administration in Morocco, helping villagers develop independence from the park resources. Upon his return to the US, he continued to travel and to help on organic farms.
Kevin eventually returned to Ann Arbor and began to build a life focused on service: radio host, Kiwanis, Serendipity Book Club. However, it wasn’t until he took a job as a substitute teacher that he found his true calling. He has been working as a teacher assistant for the Washtenaw Intermediate School District since 2008. His dream of becoming a teacher of students with special needs is becoming a reality through EMU’s SEM-T program.
Kevin speaks several languages and has had experiences in a variety of cultures. He believes that his background and experiences will support him in his endeavor to be an educator who works as part of a collaborative team where diversity is celebrated in order to best serve all students fairly and equally.
Victoria (Tori) began her college education at EMU without a clear career path. She participated in EMU’s Alternative Spring Break in 2009, and was assigned to the South Carolina State School for the Deaf, Blind, and Multi-handicapped, where she worked in a classroom for young adults who were visually and cognitively impaired. This became a life-changing experience for her. “It was here that I found what I was looking for. This experience was not only humbling, but it changed the way I looked at life.”
Tori has worked hard on her undergraduate coursework (she is extremely proud of her Braille skills), at her waitress job, and in Alpha Xi Delta, a service sorority. She held a leadership role in her sorority and is grateful for the opportunities this group has afforded her. During the summer of 2010, Tori volunteered at the Greater Detroit Agency for the Blind and Visually Impaired and was excited to put her newly learned skills into practice.
Tori has been inspired by her experiences with individuals who have visual impairment and is excited about becoming a teacher who can bring her students to “their potential by helping and encouraging them to reach their goals.”
William (Bill) has an undergraduate degree from Olivet College in sociology and psychology. However, his own personal experiences growing up have always pulled him into the helping professions. Upon graduation he worked with young adults in the juvenile correction system, as a foster care case manager, for the Washtenaw Association for Community Advocacy, and as a long-term substitute teacher in a high school classroom for students with cognitive impairments. With these experiences, Bill realized that his career path needed to move toward one that would prepare him to help young people with disabilities. EMU’s SEM-T program seemed to be the perfect match.
Bill is a graduate assistant in the Department of Special Education and an active member of Phi Delta Kappa, and has served on the College of Education Dean search committee and on the Grade Grievance Council.
Bill sees himself being an advocate for individuals with disabilities and hopes to “influence others to see the need for advocates, leaders, and partners in the fight for the expansion of rights for those with disabilities.” He plans to continue his education and, ultimately, be a college professor. He feels that he has a great deal to share with those who will listen.
William (Billy) comes from a family of educators and has been pursuing his career as a teacher for almost 10 years. This career path first became evident to him when he was in high school and helped with his local Special Olympics. He realized then the importance of “providing opportunity and life experiences to all individuals regardless of their needs and impairments.” Billy’s track coach (an EMU grad in special education) steered him toward EMU.
Billy has worked hard on his undergraduate coursework and has taken an enthographic approach to his assignments and projects, believing that this approach increases quality and allows the finished product to seem more credible and legitimate. In his work in the field of emotional impairment, Billy has particular interest in socio-environmental factors and implications that impact the educational success of these students. He believes that changing societal issues can further impact educational success. He is interested in researching such societal issues as homelessness, sexual orientation, foster care, and drug and alcohol exposure.
Billy is pursuing his undergraduate degree with endorsement in emotional impairment and plans to continue working toward his graduate degree and an additional endorsement in learning disabilities. He views being a Brehm Scholar as an opportunity for inquiry and research that will be beneficial to his teaching of children, as well as, to his future doctoral studies. Ultimately, Billy would like to teach at the university level, teaching perspective educators.
Michael received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan-Dearborn in humanities. However, his college experiences are vast, doing at work North Seattle Community College, University of Alaska-Fairbanks, University of Iowa, and Henry Ford Community College. His favorite courses at these institutions were: Alaska Native Cultures, Dada and Surrealism, History and Theory of the Avant-Garde, Dissed: Difference, Power, and Discrimination, 20th and 21st Century Women Authors, and an independent study in Hermeneutics.
Michael’s accomplishments are varied. He received a financial award from the Office of Multicultural Affairs in Alaska for his essay on “Multiculturalism”. He created an oil painting featured in a student art show and filmed documentaries on the Dada and Surrealism movements, on Russian art and poetry from the early 20th century, and on the relationship among art, architecture, music, and philosophy in the 20th century. He cooks, plays several woodwind instruments, and can carry on a basic conversation in American Sign Language and Russian.
Michael is a member of the American Educational Research Association and the Society for Disability Studies. He co-presented at the TASH 35th Annual Conference in Denver in December, 2010; at the 7th International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in May, 2011; and at the 11th Annual Second City Conference on Disability Studies at the National-Louis University. He is a contributing author and illustrator in Both Sides of the Table: Autoethnographies of Educators Learning and Teaching With/In [Dis}ability (publication pending).
Michael plans to teach in Michigan public schools and to complete a terminal degree, possibly in disability studies. He would consider teaching at a community college or a university and he believes teaching at any level to be “a reward and a privilege”. Michael is committed to the field of special education and the area of emotional impairment; however, he plans to make all education “special”. He feels that special educators are “basically advocates for and practitioners of making learning opportunities available, accessible, and enjoyable for all learners.”
Sarah completed her undergraduate degree at Michigan State University and then accepted positions working as a substitute teacher. These teaching experiences and her personal experiences with individuals with special needs led her to EMU’s SEM-T program. “The joy of teaching and my interest in children with exceptionalities have merged into a heartfelt passion and have intersected at a career as a special education teacher.”
While at EMU, Sarah has been active in the Student Council for Exceptional Children and has taken advantage of opportunities beyond the classroom to delve further into such topics as universal design for learning, positive behavior supports and evidence and skill-based instructional approaches. She also has taken advantage of opportunities for working with children as a mother and a parent volunteer in her child’s preschool.
Sarah’s goal is to become a teacher of students with cognitive impairments. She feels fortunate for the rich experiences she has had at EMU and she is determined to complete her degree and practice what she loves to do and to do it well.