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Kaitlyn Bliss: Practice, Practice, Practice

Giving News

Scholarships help UT students change the world.

Students at The University of Texas at Austin have changed the world for more than 125 years. One factor that helps attract the best undergraduate and graduate students — regardless of financial circumstances — is endowed scholarships.
What sets endowed scholarships apart from other types of financial assistance? In a nutshell, gifts given as endowments are invested and never spent, so the dividends become scholarship awards year after year. Scholarships from these endowments allow students to concentrate on world-changing research and academics.

In fact, last year alone UT awarded 8,106 separate endowed scholarships and fellowships to students, 1,907 of which were held by graduating students who earned their degrees.

Here is the fourth in a five-part series profiling some of UT’s inspiring endowed scholarship recipients.

Kaitlyn Bliss
BA Mathematics ’12

Kaitlyn BlissKaitlyn Bliss grew up around UT after moving from Dallas to Austin at the age of 7. She visited campus during Explore UT and participated in Longhorn Band Camp when she was in middle and high school.

UT became her top choice of schools when she participated in Explore UT for a second time during her senior year of high school — even though she hadn’t received her acceptance letter yet. Bliss toured campus during the event and had her first dorm experience.

“I toured dorms and really got a look at what it would be like to be a student at UT,” says Bliss, a first-generation Longhorn.

Like many new students, Bliss was unsure of her major. She knew UT had great programs and she could always switch as she followed her interests.

She started as a business major, but when she realized a calculus class would be her last math course she just couldn’t give it up.

“I knew that coming to this school would give me so many opportunities if I changed my major,” Bliss says. “I had always been interested in teaching. It was something I pictured myself doing down the road.”

So she switched from business to mathematics and enrolled in the UTeach program for secondary education. Bliss did her student teaching at O. Henry Middle School in Austin.

Bliss’ teaching mentor, Dana Davidson, eased her into classroom management. The first week she observed, the second week she team-taught with Davidson, and the third week she was teaching the sixth-grade class.

“Student teaching was one of the greatest experiences I’ve had at UT,” Bliss says. “I feel like teaching is like driving. You can’t actually become a good teacher until you are out in the world practicing it.”

Kaitlyn joined the Longhorn Marching Band during her freshman year playing mellophone and immediately made friends her first week on campus. Joining the band, which has almost 400 members, helped her find her place at UT and gave her a way to support the university.

“It’s pretty hot, but you get used to it,” Bliss says about marching in the band. “The excitement of performing pre-game and at halftime gives you an adrenaline rush. The excitement definitely makes up for the heat.”

Longhorn Band gave Bliss a huge sense of pride. She remained active with the marching band for four years and became a section leader and an officer during her tenure.

“I feel like my UT experience changed me into the person I am today,” she says. “Though UT is a huge school, I never felt like a number or lost in the crowd.”

Kaitlyn graduated in May with her BA in mathematics. She now teaches math at Murchison Middle School in Austin.

“I feel like there are so many other expenses besides the basic food and room and board and tuition,” Kaitlyn says. “The funds I received from my scholarship went directly to helping with living expenses and purchasing work clothes for my student teaching experience this past spring.”

If you have a story about inspiring UT students, please share it with us by emailing
share@austin.utexas.edu.

Related links:

Zuri Garcia: “Scholarships are the reason I graduated”
http://giving.utexas.edu/2012/06/26/zuri-garcia/

Benjamin Ammon: Academia and Beyond
http://giving.utexas.edu/2012/07/24/benjamin-ammon/

Emily Burns: Texas Pride, Texas Care
http://giving.utexas.edu/2012/08/17/emily-burns/

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