Samantha Wilson has been awarded the Owen Thomas Memorial Scholarship during the UCI School of Education 2018-2019 Scholarship Award Ceremony. Samantha is pursuing her Single Subject Master of Arts in Teaching in English. Below, she shares her thoughts about her academic journey.
My motivation to become an educator was inspired by desire to make a positive and meaningful impact on people's lives, especially young people struggling to find their place in the world. Since my mother is a fifth-grade teacher, I have grown up surrounded by strong teaching role models—experienced doyennes who could roll out lesson plans with ease, and corral 40 young wily children into a learning space and educate them.
As I grew older, I was also lucky enough to have teachers who worked hard to make sure I succeeded in my classes. They praised me for my efforts, and when I struggled, they pushed me out of my comfort zone in order to help me succeed. Such encouragement improved my self esteem and gave me the confidence I needed to push myself and achieve my goals even after I left their classes.
My English teachers in particular had an immense impact on my character. They taught me the power of language, encouraged me to think critically about the texts I read inside the class and the political and cultural discourses that shaped my life outside of class. As a teacher, I want to help students on their journey towards learning how to think and write critically, and learning how to communicate with others effectively. I want to teach them how to express themselves and their ideas, and to help them learn how to enter and engage in the discourse, discussion, and debates that will influence and determine our world in the coming years. As we face potential decades of political turmoil, environmental issues, and financial struggle, it is more important than ever for students to be able to communicate their ideas effectively and think critically about the problems that we face.
Samantha Wilson is presented with her scholarship
by Irene Thomas, widow of Professor Owen Thomas