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Student Spotlight

Cindy Schaefer Kemps

Cindy Schaefer Kemps

“A bonus of taking classes at UWFox was the diverse age mix of the students.”

Age: 45

Hometown: Menasha, WI

Current residence: Menasha, WI

When attended UWFox: “I’ve been enrolled in the UWFox act!  (“alternative careers in teaching”) program from January 2008 through July 2009, completing the courses I need to get my Wisconsin state teaching licensures in broadfield science, biology/life science and chemistry.”

Background before UWFox:

“I attended Menasha High School and graduated in 1983. I went on to receive my Bachelor’s Degree from UW-Oshkosh in 1997 with a double major in biology and anthropology. I’ve been fortunate to have many interesting jobs.  I’ve been a hospital laboratory assistant, a product analyst in private industry, a substitute teacher, an animal enrichment staff member for a zoo, a teacher in a nature preserve, and am currently teaching astronomy in a summer school program. I’ve traveled extensively through nine Asian, European and Central American countries.   I briefly taught English in northern Thailand.  I also drove to Alaska and tented for one summer where I worked in the salmon industry.”

Why did you choose UWFox?

“I always planned to return to college to follow my dream of becoming a teacher.  I registered to begin the four year Bachelor’s Degree in Education program at UWO, but then discovered the act! program at UWFox.  act! is a great fit for me.  Most of my required courses can be taken at UWFox, which is near our home. I soon recognized that the quality of teaching in my education courses at UWFox was first-rate and that the class sizes were comfortable, so I continued to take most of my courses there. A bonus of taking classes at UWFox was the diverse age mix of the students.  Since I will likely be teaching high school students near the age of some of the students in my courses at UWFox, I found the opportunity to interact and connect with the younger college students uniquely beneficial.   Attending college with other adult students, like me, with busy lives and children, provided motivation whenever I wondered how I would manage to get through the program. The cost savings taking classes at UWFox was definitely a benefit as well.”

Have you chosen a major?

“When I complete my act! program, I’ll have my Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and Anthropology and be licensed by the state to teach biology, chemistry and broadfield science at the middle school and high school levels.”

What are you learning that you find interesting and rewarding at UWFox?

“Through the coursework I’ve taken at UWFox, I’ve gained a deeper understanding and appreciation of what it takes to be an exceptional teacher.  Teaching is not something that just comes naturally.  There are research based methods and strategies that I learned and can now utilize to guide students to gain more than just information, but to think in higher level and critical ways. I also had the opportunity to recently attend the National Science Foundation Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program Conference in Washington, D.C., as part of a team from UWFox that conducted a workshop about the act! student scholars program.”

What are your career plans after UWFox?

“I’m extremely eager to have a classroom of my own to teach 6-12th grade science.”

Other interesting things you’d like to share?

“Several years ago, I delayed going back to college for my teaching licensure in order to care for my father.  Once I realized my licensure would take four more years of college, I wondered if I would ever get the chance to teach.  When I was accepted into the act! program at UWFox, I was able to make up for some of my delay, while still receiving high quality and relevant education.  I was still able to have that time with my father, and get my licensure in a reasonable amount of time.  Being honored with a ‘Robert N. Noyce Scholarship’ from the National Science Foundation helped cover my expenses in the act! program.  I was honored and humbled by the Education Departmental Award I received.  I feel like I have been given so much more than I can ever give back.  Things in life always seem to have a way of working out - and not always in the way we plan it.  My advice to others is to not give up on your dreams or your potential to give, regardless of stresses (or age!).  Nourish yourself, and you will have more to give.”


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