Achieving a Dream

Dana Mitchell receives John Gilmartin Trustee Scholarship

Scholarships Make a Real Difference for Penn State StudentsDana Mitchell

Sometimes all it takes is the encouragement of one teacher to give a student the confidence that he or she needs to succeed. Dana Mitchell wants to be the teacher.

"Being from Washington, D.C., I see many youth who don't receive enough classroom support and encouragement," said Mitchell, a freshman who plans to major in childhood and early adolescent education. "That have no one to tell them that they can be great. I want to be that one teacher."

Mitchell knew from an early age that she wanted to teach as a result of watching her mother teach special education students and mentor students in extracurricular activities. "My mother's passion for helping her students succeed really rubbed off on me," she said. "As a girl, I would gather my friends together and pretend to be a teacher, just like my mother. But I was determined that one day I wouldn't have to play 'school' anymore. Instead, I would teach in a real school."

Mitchell chose to attend Penn State after a visit to the campus during which she "fell in love with the university." But paying for it was going to be difficult. "When I first received my aid summary, I didn't think I would be able to afford Penn State," she said. "Receiving the John Gilmartin Trustee Scholarship was extremely helpful. And it was more than just financial assistance; it was a confidence boost. It showed me that hard work and determination pays off."

Mitchell noted that by giving her a scholarship, the Gilmartins played a role in encouraging her to go to college, to do well there, and to reach for her full potential. She remarked, "I hope to give the same encouragement to my own students one day."