(Dec. 18, 2009)--For 50-year-old Deborah Kaufman, the end of the tunnel her advisers told her about is near, and she now sees the light ahead. Kaufman will walk the stage at 5 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 19 and graduate cum laude with a bachelor's degree in Mexican-American studies from the UTSA College of Education and Human Development.
Her journey began in 2005, when after working several years as a Head Start teacher with 3 to 5 year olds in San Marcos, and raising two children with her husband, Kaufman decided to enroll in UTSA's Head Start Summer Institute.
A federally funded program, Head Start provides learning development for low-income children from birth to five years of age. Under the No Child Left Behind Act, all Head Start teachers and staff are required to earn their degrees.
In 2002, with a new government mandate in place, UTSA sociology professor Harriett Romo founded the new institute with a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The institute allows area Head Start teachers to take classes in the summer and work their way toward completing associate or bachelor's degrees.
The program, books and student housing are provided free-of-charge to participants. The curriculum includes early childhood and Mexican-American studies. Over the last four years, Kaufman commuted from San Marcos to attend the three-week summer sessions in the first and third years, and the longer six-week sessions in the second and fourth years.
"It was a wonderful program and served as a real confidence builder," said Kaufman. "I really liked it because it just felt so comfortable."
With her associate degree courses behind her, she enrolled at UTSA and completed the remaining core courses to earn her bachelor's degree in Mexican-American studies.
"Deborah has been a very successful, highly motivated student and a role model for other Head Start teachers," said Romo. "She demonstrated that it is possible to juggle family, work and school successfully."
In addition to those responsibilites, Kaufman has taken care of her father, who suffered two strokes over the last three years.
After working with young children for 11 years, Kaufman looks forward to changing gears and working with adults teaching English as a second language.
UTSA has provided 264 Head Start teachers and staff the opportunity to return to college and continue working to obtain a degree. Over the last nine years, 3,168 college credit hours have been earned by summer institute participants. The 2010 summer session orientation begins May 15.
The UTSA Head Start Summer Institute is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. Partnerships are established with the City Of San Antonio Department of Community Initiatives, San Antonio College, St. Philips College, AVANCE, Edgewood I.S.D, San Antonio I.S.D, Region 20, Family Services, Community Action Inc. and the Texas Migrant Council Inc.
For more information, call 210-458-2692 or visit the UTSA Head Start Summer Institute Web site.
The UTSA Office of Veteran and Military Affairs is hosting a day full of outreach events and activities by the U.S. Navy as part of a larger Navy presence in San Antonio called Navy Week with various events in the community through Feb. 25.
Student Union Paseo and Convocation Center entrance, Main Campus
Join this interactive play that is a courtroom drama and the audience is the jury. Discussion and will follow.
Student Union, Retama Auditorium (SU 2.02.02), Main Campus
Langston Clark, UTSA assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology, Health, and Nutrition will discuss exploring the historical context for the role of black athletes in contemporary social movements.
John Peace Library, Assembly Room (JPL 4.04.22), Main Campus
The UTSA African American Studies program invites speakers from the leading African American Fraternities and Sororities for a panel discussion of the history of each organization and to enlighten the audience about the community service, academic purpose, professionalism and ethical roots of each group.
Student Union, Mesquite Room (SU 2.01.24), Main Campus
MuTe Fest is a celebration of original music and technology. Three days of concerts, sessions, and informative lectures will offer a unique experience of musical works created by fellow UTSA students and the chance to gain valuable knowledge about music technology.
Art Building, Music Tech Lab (Arts 3.01.30B), Main Campus
UTSA Libraries hosts Assistant Professor Ian Caine for his lecture, Architectural Postcards from Space, as part of the popular Pizza + Research series. Pizza will be served while supplies last.
Buena Vista Street Building (BVB 2.304), Downtown Campus
The theme of this year’s symposium is Black & Brown Futures. The free event will give UTSA students and the community the opportunity to meet and hear national scholars talk about current research and academic trends relevant to the lives of African Americans in the United States.
Student Union, Denman Room (SU 2.01.28), Main Campus
Registration is open now for this family-friendly and dog-friendly run that supports the UTSA Alumni Association scholarship fund.
Convocation Center, Main Campus
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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