BOONE, N.C. — First-generation college students in Appalachian State University’s Reich College of Education (RCOE) are benefiting from the pay-it-forward efforts of RCOE professor Dr. Chrystal Dean ’93 ’96 and her late husband, who passed away from cancer in 2017.
The pair created the Dean Family First Generation Teacher Education Scholarship, which specifically supports first-generation RCOE students with a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education.
Dean — a professor of mathematics education in RCOE’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction (CI) and the director of the department’s elementary education graduate program — was a first-generation college student and North Carolina Teaching Fellow who was able to attend Appalachian through scholarship support — an opportunity she wants to extend to Dean Family Scholarship recipients.
Appalachian alumna Morgan Payne ’19 ’20, of Shelby, a recipient of the Deans’ support, served as Chrystal Dean’s graduate assistant in the CI department during the fall 2019 semester.
About receiving the Dean Family Scholarship, Payne said, “I feel blessed that there are people who are willing to give their hard-earned money in order to support students in their dreams of becoming teachers.”
She added, “The professors here know their content and have such a passion for it that they care greatly about teaching it to others. … The RCOE is second to none because of its magnificent faculty and staff. Students will not get this kind of experience anywhere else.”
Payne, who completed her Bachelor of Science in elementary education in 2019, graduated from Appalachian in May with a Master of Arts in reading education and a graduate certificate in autism spectrum disorders. She currently teaches third grade at Township Three Elementary School in Shelby.
Dean, who received both her B.S. in mathematics education and M.A. in instructional technology from Appalachian, said the university’s reputation for teacher education made Appalachian her first choice.
An RCOE faculty member since 2008, Dean said, “The balanced focus on teaching, research and service made Appalachian a perfect fit as a faculty member. I was elated to be able to return ‘home.’”
For more information on the Dean Family First Generation Teacher Education Scholarship, including how to apply, contact Stephanie Moretz, scholarship coordinator and accelerated admissions recruiter in the RCOE’s Office of the Dean, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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About the Reich College of Education
Appalachian State University offers one of the largest undergraduate teacher preparation programs in North Carolina, graduating about 500 teachers a year. The Reich College of Education enrolls more than 2,000 students in its bachelor's, master's, education specialist and doctoral degree programs. With so many teacher education graduates working in the state, there is at least one RCOE graduate teaching in every county in North Carolina. Learn more at https://rcoe.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the Southeast, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls nearly 21,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.