Written by Maureen Brakke
MONMOUTH, Ore. – Western Oregon University, in partnership with Unitus Credit Union, hosted a reception last month to celebrate eight Unitus Bilingual Teachers Scholars scholarship recipients. This scholarship aims to foster diversity and inclusivity within the teaching profession.
The following Western students were recipients of the Bilingual Teachers scholarship: Miriam Herrera Hernandez, Maria Guadalupe Salazar, Keysel Corea-San Emeterio, Evelyn Estrada, Diana Valdovinos Cabrera, Alessandra Cervantes Ramirez, Areli Santos Gomez, and Vanessa Quintero.
“Unitus is proud to partner with Western on the Bilingual Teacher Scholars Program for this critical community need,” said Steve Stapp, Unitus president/CEO. “It’s our honor to help prepare the next wave of teachers in Oregon through scholarship support so new students will have bilingual teachers who understand their needs, connect with them on a cultural level, and can meet them where they’re at.”
The gathering included staff from Western Oregon University and alumnus Gustavo Balderas, Ph.D. ‘90, superintendent of Beaverton School District, who delivered the keynote address. Balderas, known for his dedication to education and his visionary leadership, provided inspiration and encouragement to the scholarship recipients.
The recipients shared their stories and their inspiration for pursuing a career in education. “I want to be a teacher who will support students like me. I do not want any child to feel as if they are alone and I want my students to know that I can relate to them,” shared Vanessa Quintero, scholarship recipient and a junior at Western. She adds that not only does she want to support students but also their families and believes that creating strong connections will help everyone learn and grow together.
Another scholarship recipient Maria Guadalupe Salazar shares that this scholarship will allow her to complete her education so she can help children feel a sense of belonging. “I don’t want kids to feel out of place or fall behind because they don’t speak English. I want to be that change and be there for the students who need me.”
About Western Oregon UniversityWestern Oregon University, established in Monmouth in 1856, proudly stands as Oregon’s oldest public university. Hosting around 4,000 students, Western embodies a mid-sized, NCAA Division II institution, with approximately 80% of its students hailing from within the state. Notably, its diverse student body comprises individuals from underrepresented backgrounds, veterans, and non-traditional learners. Western stands as the preferred campus in Oregon for those pursuing an enriching education within a nurturing, student-focused environment, characterized by faculty-led instruction. Together we succeed.