College of Education > News and Publications > 2019: 01-03 news > Loretta Lowman: Teaching kids the fundamentals of reading

Loretta Lowman: Teaching kids the fundamentals of reading

The Alumni Spotlight is a monthly feature in Bridges, highlighting College of Education alumni who are making a difference in the lives of the people around them. This edition features Loretta Lowman, who overcame a learning disability as a child and found success as a special education teacher.

Growing up with a learning disability, Loretta Lowman struggled in reading, writing and math. So, when she applied for the Summer College Opportunity Program in Education, also known as S.C.O.P.E., after her high school sophomore year, she wasn't sure what to expect. Ultimately, Lowman had an amazing experience that reinforced her childhood dream to attend Penn State.

Loretta Lowman
Alumna Loretta Lowman struggled with a learning disability as a child but that didn't stop her from achieving her dream of becoming a teacher. She now has bachelor's and master's degrees from Penn State and is impacting the lives of students in Philadelphia as a K-2 interventionist.
Lowman eased into college life by completing her first two years at the Penn State Hazleton campus. She then transferred to University Park, where she earned both her bachelor's degree in special education and her master's degree in curriculum and instruction, in 2015.

Following graduation, Lowman became a kindergarten, fourth- and fifth-grade special education teacher in Waldorf, Maryland. After three years, she decided she wanted to move back to New Jersey to be closer to her family.

Though Lowman never thought she would leave the field of special education, a phone call from a principal at Frederick Douglass Mastery Charter School in Philadelphia would change her mind.

"The principal wanted me to interview for a K-2 Interventionist position," said Lowman. "The way she described it got me really excited about the opportunity."

Lowman was offered the job and began working at the charter school in August of 2018. Her ultimate goal, she said, is to utilize her reading specialist skills to help make sure that all the kindergarteners know how to read before the end of the school year.

"The beauty of school, and more specifically my position, is helping students learn and grow," said Lowman. "I love seeing the lightbulb go off when they 'get' a concept."

Lowman looks back on her time at Penn State – both as a S.C.O.P.E. participant and as an undergraduate student – and said it's the best decision she has ever made.

"Penn State has a way of reeling you in and making you feel at home, no matter what your circumstances," she said.

 Lowman resides in Philadelphia.