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Students Find Inspiration in Scholarship Gift


Elizabeth Fiedler, Tracy Codel, and Christine Fiedler at the Scholarship Luncheon in November.

When Tracy Codel, LA'86, first attended Drake, she was unsure of her career path. But as she began to explore the curriculum, she discovered her passions—first for mathematics, then education.

Codel began her career as a teacher, and though she once took a break from the profession, she found herself drawn back into the classroom. 

"I felt it was my calling," Codel says.

Today, Codel stays at home with her two boys, but her volunteer activities have kept her close to her roots. She volunteers at her sons' schools, leads a math club, and recently prepared a group of sixth graders for an international math competition.

The Decision to Give Back
She cites her classroom experience and children as her inspiration to create an endowed scholarship fund at Drake University for mathematics education.

"I thought, If I'm not teaching, how can I promote learning?" Codel says. "My husband and I decided we could reach more lives through scholarships."

Codel established the Tracy and Franklin Codel Excellence in Math Education Scholarship to ease the financial burden for American's future secondary math teachers and encourage the best and brightest students to teach math, which is currently a shortage area in many school districts. 

So far, the scholarship has accomplished both of these goals. 

Two Scholarship Recipients Speak Out
For Christine Fiedler, a graduate student pursuing her Master of Arts in Teaching, the scholarship is assisting with a career change from engineering to education.

"The scholarship really means a lot," Christine Fiedler says. "The financial assistance is much appreciated, but the recognition is really even more important. So many people have told me that I am crazy for changing to a teaching career, so it's nice to know that Tracy appreciates what I am doing."

For Elizabeth Fiedler, last year's scholarship recipient, Codel's own passion is inspiring her to be a better teacher.

"It's fantastic that although she's not teaching in the classroom right now, she's still spending so much of her time volunteering for other students," says Elizabeth Fiedler, a junior who plans to teach high school math. "Tracy shows that the passion for mathematics education doesn't just have to stay in the classroom, but applies to all aspects of student encouragement."

Paying It Forward
Although Codel has stayed involved with Drake in a variety of ways, she views her connection to these students and her contributions to the future of secondary math education as her most important Drake ties. 

"Those who graduated have the responsibility to provide the same opportunities to those who follow after them," Codel says. "There's a legacy, so it maintains the quality of the university. If people before me hadn't given, I wouldn't have had my opportunities at Drake, so now I want to do the same."

How Can You Help?
Contact John Amato at 515-271-2849 to learn how you can change lives at Drake.

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