Meranda Golbek came to OSU with specific goals in mind. She knew she wanted to major in chemistry and then go to medical school. But sitting in
New Student Orientation the summer before her freshman year, Golbeck was thrown a curve ball. The speaker mentioned a new program, OSUTeach.
The program provides STEM majors the chance to teach in elementary- and middle-school classrooms through two introductory courses while receiving a stipend. Golbek’s mother, a teacher, encouraged her to take the class.
The more her mother talked about it, the more Golbek thought about it. Her mother asked, “What’s the harm in taking the class, especially if they are paying for it?”
Golbek enrolled in the class thinking that would be enough to for her mother to move on, but in that first class, she really started to enjoy it.
“It started out as my Plan B in case med school didn’t work out,” Golbek said. “Then I would always have something I could fall back on.”
Golbeck chose to keep pursing her chemistry degree and added the secondary teaching option. OSUTeach offers biological sciences, chemistry, geology, mathematics and physics degree programs that are made possible through a collaboration between the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education, Health and Aviation.
She became more involved in the OSUTeach community and started embracing the opportunities it provides.
“I love this program,” Golbek said. “It has really become my family on campus. This is the family that I needed in Stillwater. With OSUTeach, I have been able to meet people I wouldn’t have otherwise. Because of these education classes, we have a middle ground to meet on and we are all friends. It’s that community that has really helped me here. Our community keeps growing, but we all still know everyone in the program.”
That feeling of community is what Sydney Hutchison, OSUTeach mathematics major, also loves about the program.
“OSUTeach, outside of my own blood family, they have become my family at OSU,” Hutchison said. “I was really shy and nervous coming to OSU as a freshman. Going from a class of 29 to a campus with 25,000 was a culture shock. So being able to be a part of OSUTeach, with a lot of friendly faces, the program and the students embraced me.”
But community isn’t the only value from the program. OSUTeach students begin by taking two one-hour recruitment courses and receive a $125 scholarship for completing each course, allowing students to try teaching mathematics or science without the financial commitment.
“The first class is a great opportunity for anyone to get in a classroom and see if they like education,” Golbek said. “It may be one of those things that changes your perspective.”
After those courses, classes start to gear more toward students’ areas of focus with curriculum to foster expertise.
“There is no way I could get to where I wanted to go without the classes and connections I have made here,” Golbek said. “OSUTeach has allowed me the platform to call my own and because of my work here, I feel more prepared and I am so glad that I have been able to help lay that foundation.”
Golbek sees the advantages of having the skills to teach. She can go on to utilize her skills to teach doctors, or have a second career later in life. These experiences will also set her apart when she applies to medical school.
Some students, like Hutchison, have always known it was their calling.
“I want to go into teaching because I get that feeling in my heart, the feeling of warmth when you drink hot chocolate, and it starts in your gut and spreads all over your body,” Hutchison said. “I can just tell this is something I am meant to do. I hope every student can find their niche.”
To learn more, stop by the OSUTeach office in Life Sciences East 114 or visit osuteach.okstate.edu.