Chelsee Bowlin always wanted to be a math teacher. “I loved algebra,” said the Penn High School graduate. As a single mother and a first-generation college student, Chelsee appreciates IU South Bend’s smaller campus and the one-on-one attention she gets from her professors. “IU South Bend is a very personal college,” explained Chelsee. “The dean, the professors, and the education recruiter all work to make sure students have a broad set of experiences both in and out of the classroom.”
As a first-semester freshman at IU South Bend, Chelsee kept a low profile and came to campus only when she had class. “Being the first in my family to attend college, I didn’t know what to expect,” she explained. “I felt like I had to find the answers to questions myself.”
Her biggest challenge came when her grandfather passed away. Sad and struggling to keep up with her classwork, Chelsee found support from counselors in the Making the Academic Connection (MAC) office and at the Counseling Center. “My grandfather was a father-figure to me,” she explained. “I took it very hard.” She found comfort talking with guidance counselors in the MAC office. “They understood what I was going through, and they helped me get back on track with my studies.”
Chelsee became a peer mentor, so she could smooth the transition for other students like herself. “My freshman year I avoided Welcome Week,” she said with a smile. “Now I love it!” She also decided to join the Theta Phi Alpha sorority, where she has made good friends. As a single mother, she worried she would not have enough in common with other students, but she’s been pleasantly surprised. “The MAC office helped me connect and reach out,” she explained.
To be admitted into the teacher education program, Chelsee had to pass the Pearson Core Academic Skills Assessment exam. Persistence, review, and practice helped her pass the test. “My mom encouraged me to persevere,” she said. “I went to the Wiekamp Educational Resource Commons and got a book to help me study, and I took practice tests online.”
Grateful for the opportunities she had at IU South Bend, Chelsee is looking forward to her future career as a math teacher. “I hope someday I can make a difference and inspire my students to love math, too,” she said.