Presidential Scholar from Ohio dreams of following in her mother's footsteps

by Emily Vontom, Published November 08, 2012

Rachel Bentley, 18, grew up wanting to follow in her mother's footsteps and become a teacher. Thanks to Eastern Michigan University, Bentley's dreams are a few footsteps closer to coming true.

Bentley is one of 16 new Presidential Scholars at Eastern. The Presidential Scholarship is an elite four-year award that pays for 30 credit hours of in-state tuition, housing, food allowance and mandatory fees.

"I love working with children," said Bentley, of Cincinnati, Ohio. "My mom is a teacher. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to follow in her footsteps."

Bentley wants to teach math and Spanish to students, she says. When she was younger she never really liked math, and Spanish excites her.

"I struggled with math," said Bentley. "After a series of good teachers, I realized that I really loved math and it was something that I was good at doing. I want other kids, especially girls, to have the opportunity to come to this realization as well."

Bentley's goal of helping students doesn't stop at teaching math. She wants to teach and help students in urban schools as well.

"By getting students in an urban school to like and appreciate math more, I could really make a difference in the lives of a lot of people," Bentley said.

In addition to academics, Bentley spends time as a member of the University Choir, the running club and VISION (Volunteers Incorporating Service into Our Neighborhood).

"I'm part of a lot of volunteer programs through VISION, including the pen pal program. I have been assigned a student in 3rd or 4th grade at one of the area elementary schools that I write letters to throughout the school year," Bentley said. "The students get to come spend a day with us at Eastern later this year. I'm excited because I have been matched with a Hispanic student and must correspond with him in Spanish!"

Presidential Scholars are selected during Eastern's annual Presidential Scholarship Competition in December. Awards are based on a competitive exam. To compete, high school seniors must have either a 3.7 GPA, with a minimum of a 25 ACT or 1,150 SAT score. Each scholarship winner must also complete a successful interview.



Emily Vontom

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