Kasey Ockerlund is a senior special education-learning and behavior specialist major in the College of Education. She received a Jepsen International Scholars Program Endowment scholarship to participate in a four-week trip to Taipei, Taiwan in the summer of 2015.

Through the “Jepsen Challenge,” your donations large and small help aspiring education majors afford to participate in unique study abroad opportunities offered by the College of Education. Alumnus Keith Jepsen ’67, M.S. ’68, and his spouse, Kathleen Dore, will match up to $25,000 in donations made by June 30, 2016, to the Jepsen International Scholars Program Endowment Fund and the College of Education Global Initiatives fund.

What did the Jepsen International Scholars Endowment scholarship mean for you?

I am extremely thankful for the funding because I was able to learn about a new culture while making new friendships that I still have today. I was able to learn about teaching in another country and culture, which was eye opening, and helped me to better understand the U.S. education system as well. It was the experience of a lifetime and an experience that will forever impact my teaching.

Why do you believe it is important for aspiring educators to study abroad?

Educators need to be culturally responsive in the classroom. Cultural responsiveness is especially important in today’s classrooms because student populations are becoming increasingly diverse. Teachers need to teach students whose backgrounds are different from their own.  Therefore, teachers need to seek out experiences in order to be more knowledgeable about various cultures.  I believe studying abroad, particularly in a school or other educational setting, is the perfect opportunity to gain new perspectives for future teachers.