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USF Sarasota-Manatee receives scholarship donations

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: May 01, 2017

SARASOTA, Fla. (May 1, 2017)USF Sarasota-Manatee is welcoming two new scholarship donors, one that wants to honor veterans and their families and another that’s trying to encourage more students to become public school teachers.

The Sarasota chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa, a society of professional women teachers, says it wants to help USFSM students considering careers in the teaching profession.

“One of our major goals is to provide excellence in education. Given the challenges teachers face, especially young teachers, we thought it would be helpful to offer this scholarship to encourage young people become teachers,” said Joan Tatum, an Alpha Delta Kappa advisor and past president.

Previously, the chapter awarded scholarships to high school graduates considering teaching careers. Although most grant recipients followed through and became teachers, many changed course to pursue other vocations.

To ensure it helps future teachers, the chapter last year introduced a $1,000 scholarship eligible to students specifically enrolled in USFSM’s School of Education.

“That way we’re looking at more mature scholarship candidates,” Tatum said.

The group agreed to start with a five-year, $1,000-per-year plan but hopes to expand on that. This past month, it awarded its first USFSM scholarship.

“I was completely shocked by it,” said third-year elementary education student Randi Sheehan, who will use the funds for books and other materials.

“My husband (Bryan) is working two and three jobs so I can go to school full time,” Sheehan, 34, a mother of three, said. “This definitely helps. It’s been a huge weight off our shoulders.”

Sheehan applied for the scholarship in February. She said she’s always loved teaching and previously worked at a pre-school when she caught the teaching bug.

“I just love working with children. I like when you help them understand something and you see that lightbulb go off,” she said. “It’s a rewarding feeling.”

Joining Alpha Delta Kappa is Professionals Assisting Military Families & Friends (PAMFF).

In March, the group made a one-time $14,277 donation to support student veterans and active military members at USFSM. The bulk of that – $10,000 – will go toward a new fund called the Joyce Rubin PAMFF Veterans Scholarship.

Joyce Rubin, who died last Nov. 11 on Veterans Day, was the spouse of World War II veteran, Harris Rubin.

A mental health counselor, Joyce Rubin was deeply concerned about veterans’ causes, in particular for families with sons, daughters, siblings or parents deployed to war zones. This concern prompted her to co-found PAMFF, a local family support network.

When she died – a month after her husband passed away – PAMFF’s members thought it appropriate to use the organization’s remaining funds to create a scholarship in Rubin’s name. The idea was to honor Rubin and a cause she cared about.

“We were hoping her family will donate beyond the $10,000 to keep it going in her memory,” Linda Welch, PAMFF’s former secretary, said. “She was so passionate about helping veterans’ families.”

The first beneficiary will be named this fall.

In addition to establishing the Joyce Rubin PAMFF Veterans Scholarship, the group donated $2,777 to the USFSM Veterans Legacy Endowment, $1,000 to the Next Greatest Generation Veterans Growth Fund and $500 to the Next Greatest Generation Veterans Operating Fund.

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