Funding for Educators and SLP Master’s Degrees
We know Knights are generous and actively support their local communities and UCF, so in support of #GivingTuesdayNow, a global day to celebrate the creative ways humankind has been helping each other during the pandemic, we asked the Knights community to share positive stories of themselves or other Knights and how they’re exemplifying community service during the global pandemic. And Knight Nation delivered!
Here is the story of alumna Dena Slanda ’13M.Ed., ’17Ph.D.:
“In 2019, I collaborated with colleagues, Mary Little (College of Community Innovation and Education) and Linda Rosa-Lugo (Health Professions and Sciences) to write a grant to support special education teachers and speech-language pathologists (SLP) to earn their Master’s degree at UCF in their respective field. This grant opportunity would support each funded scholar with up to 36 credit hours of tuition and fees. For the special education teachers, this means they would earn their Master’s degree for no money out of pocket (other than books) and for our SLPs this accounts for almost half of the tuition for their degree.
This vision became a reality when the project was recently funded for $1.25 million. Now, in the middle of a pandemic, we are lucky to be recruiting our first cohort of scholars from both programs to begin this summer! This is a little glimmer of hope during these challenging times for our special education teachers and SLPs who have the desire to improve their own knowledge and skills to work with our students with high intensity needs in language and literacy. It is so rewarding to see the excitement when they hear they have been funded and received this scholarship! All educators have the passion needed to work with our most vulnerable students and this is a great way to help them with their passion. During this pandemic, all educators — and especially our special education teachers and SLPs — are working so hard to make sure students receive interventions and specially designed instruction. They are all so deserving.“
While we are inspired by these generous acts of kindness shared with us, we hope it inspires you make a positive change in the lives of others. You can show your generosity in a variety of ways during #GivingTuesdayNow, whether it’s helping a neighbor, advocating for an issue, sharing a skill or giving to causes. Every act of compassions counts.
If you feel compelled to support the UCF community during this time, there are various ways to get involved:
- Make a gift to support student scholarships or faculty research
- Write a note of appreciation to a Knight Nurse
- Attend a virtual event
- Sign up to be a volunteer with UCF Alumni
- Donate non-perishables to the Knights Helping Knights Pantry (Pantries located on the main campus, Rosen campus and Medical City).