For the love of education


Susan Ozaeta, center, pictured with Ralph Reid and Debby Ballard of the Sprint Foundation.

Each year, students enter the UMKC School of Education to pursue their dreams of transforming our urban schools.

One such student is Susana Ozaeta, a junior in elementary education in the UMKC School of Education’s Institute for Urban Education (IUE).  Earlier this fall, Ozaeta, a recipient of the Sprint Urban Education Scholarship for IUE, shared her story of drive and determination to become a professional educator.

Ozaeta is the daughter of immigrant parents who moved to the United States to provide “their children the opportunity to a life that they wouldn’t have had otherwise,” Ozaeta explained.  “I am not sure that they completely knew the extent of what they were doing for our family,” she continued, “but I owe my life to them.”

From an early age, Ozaeta wanted to become a teacher to “show students of all demographics that education will be the one thing of few that they will be able to choose for themselves.  Education will provide for them the situations, people and career that only they will be able to choose and be happy with.”

Today, Ozaeta’s own daily struggle in supporting her mother and younger brother provide the motivation for her to continue her education, although without financial support from scholarship donors, that dream—like for so many students—would be impossible.

“Because of the continued generosity of the Sprint Foundation,” she said, “my dream of leading students to college and to amazing careers is completely possible. Because of the continued generosity, I will be able to become a support for the students that need it and a leader for all students that will use me as a resource in becoming the best person they can be.”


Ozaeta participated in a roundtable discussion that provided context of the School of Education’s investment, innovation and collaborative approach to revolutionize urban education, facilitated by Dean Wanda J. Blanchett, and shown at the launch of its Urban Education Research Center in October.  See that discussion on YouTube.