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Release: Jan. 24, 2002

Seidler Scholarship Aids Aspiring Teachers In Last College Semester

A generous gift from the family of a former English teacher at Jefferson High School in Cedar Rapids is aiding University of Iowa education students during their student-teaching semester.

Twenty undergraduate and 10 graduate students have received full in-state tuition this academic year through the Seidler Student Teacher Scholarship. This annual scholarship has been established through the UI Foundation by the family of the late Evelyn G. Seidler, who taught English at Jefferson High School for many years. The family wanted to support the teaching profession by providing scholarship help when many students need it most -- during their semester of student teaching.

Students who receive this support are asked, in turn, to commit themselves to at least two years as classroom teachers.

"This is a clear example of a way in which a charitable gift can have a positive impact on the College of Education and the profession of teaching," UI College of Education Dean Sandra Damico said. "We are deeply appreciative of this support and know that the students who benefit from it will be as well."

Renee Zukin, who completed her master's degree last semester and was among the first recipients of the scholarship, said the funds were especially helpful as she student-taught at Southeast Junior High School in Iowa City.

"As a single mother working toward a graduate degree, I was helped by the Seidler Scholarship not only financially, but also emotionally," Zukin said. "Feeling more financially secure during the busy time of student-teaching meant I had one less thing to worry about -- granting me more time to enjoy my daughter and my teaching experience."

Bethany Star Dill, who completed her bachelor's degree last fall, taught high school mathematics to students at MacArthur High School in Aldine, Texas.

"The Seidler Scholarship has been a blessing," Dill said. "Because I am not burdened by tuition I do not have to spend my time and energy working part-time jobs to cover the costs of

student teaching in Texas. This has freed up some valuable time for me, not only for class preparation but also so I can provide after-school tutorials for my students. Some of the students wouldn't have passed without the extra support. So my students also want to say 'thank you' to the Seidler family."

Evelyn Seidler received her B.A. degree in English in 1950 from the University of Illinois, where she was a Phi Betta Kappa graduate. After rearing her four children, she decided to pursue a career in teaching and subsequently received her teaching certificate from Coe College.

An active member of many local philanthropic organizations, Seidler taught English at Jefferson High School in Cedar Rapids for almost 10 years, part of the time while undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. Following her death in 1982, a scholarship fund was established in her name at Jefferson High School in accordance with her strong belief that every student should be able to get a college education. In 2001 the Seidler Scholarship was established at the University of Iowa to continue fulfilling her desire to help students who wish to become teachers do so regardless of their financial means.

The University of Iowa Foundation is the preferred channel of support for private contributions to all areas of the University of Iowa. Foundation staff members work with alumni and friends to provide support for a broad range of programs and projects at the University of Iowa.

The University of Iowa College of Education, founded in 1872, was the nation's first permanent college-level department of education. Since then the college has gained an international reputation of excellence in fields as diverse as rehabilitation counseling, testing and measurement, and language and literacy. It is home to the Iowa Testing Programs, developer of the widely used Iowa Tests of Basic Skills; to the Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development; and to such top-ranked programs as Rehabilitation Counseling, Counseling Psychology, Educational Psychology, Elementary Teacher Education, Secondary Teacher Education, and English Education and Literacy.