The Neag School of Education at UConn announces the recipients of the Neag School of Education Alumni Board Scholarship as Elena Sada, a first-year doctoral student studying bilingual and multicultural education in the Neag School, and Denée Jackson, a master’s student in the Neag School of Education’s Higher Education and Student Affairs program.
The Neag School of Education Alumni Board Scholarship provides a $1,000 award available annually to students enrolled in a master’s, doctorate, or sixth-year program and who have proven academic excellence or demonstrated financial need. The scholarship is intended to invest in the education and experience of Neag School students. For the 2019 academic year, there were 35 applicants.
“The Neag School of Education Alumni Board Scholarship is one that aims to not only support aspiring educators, but also honor the passion and talents of those who are committed to doing what is arguably one of the most important and challenging jobs of today,” says Kate Lund, president of the Neag School of Education Alumni Board. “As a board, we are committed to awarding these important scholarships each year and are entirely grateful for the generous contributions from our alumni, who share our support of and pride in these promising teachers.”
Sada received her bachelor of science in religion from the International Center for Educational Sciences in Rome, Italy, and a bachelor of science in education from Anahuac, Mexico. She received a master’s and advanced certificate in educational supervision and administration from Hunter College in New York City.
Sada’s doctoral research, which is expected to strengthen the relationship between the University of Connecticut and UNICEF, focuses on institutionalized children in Mexico and how dual language education shapes equity and social justice in the classroom.
Sada, who is also a single mother of two adopted children, previously worked as a district supervisor in the West Hartford (Conn.) Public School district’s world languages programs, and as the district supervisor of the English learners and dual language program in the New Rochelle, N.Y., school district.
Jackson received her bachelor of arts in communications from the University of Connecticut in 2014. Jackson was enrolled in a master’s program at North Carolina State University, but she returned to Connecticut after her mother was diagnosed with cancer.
“I approach my learning with a ferocity because the more I learn, the more I can influence change and uplift communities,” says Jackson, whose mother inspired her to pursue higher education. “The more that I learn about oppressive policies within systemically unequitable systems, the more I can do to deconstruct them and build new equitable and inclusive systems.”
“Although my responsibilities sometimes require urgent attention, I have a legacy to uphold. I am hoping that my passion and grit, built on the foundation that my amazing mom instilled in me, will lead me to attaining my master’s and doctoral degrees while espousing my conviction of education as a means to attaining a more socially just world,” says Jackson.
Jackson is currently a Husky Sport mentor, facilitating coursework as well as professional development for a team of 40 graduate and undergraduate students.
She is also a graduate student intern at the UConn Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, and assisted in the development of a new Greek life program, and advised the 2016 HuskyTHON to benefit the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.
Sada and Jackson were recognized at the 2018 Neag School Alumni Awards Celebration, which took place at the Storrs campus in March.