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Sources: Larry Scharmann, 785-532-5904,;
William Meier,; and Samantha Parker,
News release prepared by: Nellie Ryan, 785-532-6415,

Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2009


MANHATTAN -- Two Kansas State University graduate students are the inaugural recipients of a special scholarship created to attract science majors to the teaching discipline.

The K-State TEACH scholarship is a collaboration between the university's departments of secondary education, physics, geology, chemistry and biology. The scholarship is supported by the National Science Foundation's Robert Noyce Scholarship Program, which awarded K-State $875,000 over a five-year period to help increase the number of highly qualified middle- and high-school teachers in the science areas.

William Meier, a master's student in curriculum and instruction, Manhattan, is receiving a $15,000 K-State TEACH scholarship for the 2009-2010 school year, while Samantha Parker, a master's student in curriculum and instruction, Waterville, was awarded a $7,500 TEACH scholarship for the fall semester.

Meier received his undergraduate degree in horticulture with a minor in business from K-State in 2006. After graduating from K-State, Meier spent two years working in a horticulture-related career. He then realized that teaching was his calling and made the decision to return to K-State in pursuit of a master's degree and a graduate teaching certificate with an emphasis in biology for grades 6-12.

His interest in teaching goes back to his childhood when he watched his mother teach in Olathe. "I enjoyed those experiences and often found myself wondering what it would be like to be in her position," he said. "Specifically, I really enjoy helping other people learn about important educational material and also about themselves as they develop their identity throughout childhood and adolescence."

Parker received her undergraduate degree in neuroscience from Texas Christian University in 2006. She then went on to work as the at-risk coordinator for Valley Heights High School, where she realized her passion for teaching. She earned a graduate certificate in secondary education in December and will finish her master's in curriculum and instruction in summer 2010.

"By joining this program, I have had to resign from my position at Valley Heights High School, so this scholarship will provide me with a way to afford tuition," Parker said. "It fits me perfectly because I currently live in Waterville, a rural town just north of Manhattan, and this scholarship is geared toward teachers interested in teaching in a rural school, which is something I plan on doing."