|Senior Amy Jindra is pursuing a double major in teaching and English with a liberal arts emphasis.|
As a recipient of the Harry Oden Scholarship, Amy Jindra has fearlessly worked on campus policies since her freshman year at UMD. From the very beginning, Jindra was elected as freshman representative; four years later she has a solid history of participating on the executive student board.
“During my sophomore year, my main focus was the sophomore registration experience. I was on the Sophomore Council committee. I saw that freshmen were given earlier registration times, and upper classmen priority. What about the sophomore class?”
Jindra found that too often, the second year registration process was difficult to navigate, and even harder for students to sign up for the appropriate classes. Having experienced the difficulties firsthand, she realized that something needed to be done.
“We only have so many semesters to work with, and many times students have to take one class before another. If you don’t get into a class one semester, it can easily bump you back an entire year. That can be really discouraging.”
Instead of becoming bogged down by the negative, Jindra chose to be proactive and became involved with potential change. Her persistence and can-do attitude met with success.
“It was a team effort, an excellent collaboration. UMD now has a new advising website. It was completely reconstructed and it’s now so much easier for second year students to sign up for their classes.”
With graduation on the horizon, Jindra will enter the working world with an English teaching license for grades 5-12. “I love to read, and I have had incredible teachers, professors, and supervisors who have inspired me. I want to do the same because it makes all the difference in the world when an adult gives you a sense of ‘yes, you can do this even if you’re having a bad day.’ There have been many times in my life when a teacher or professor has given me that extra encouragement. I succeeded in my college career because of it.”
Since the Harry Oden Scholarship is intended for sophomores, juniors, and seniors, the financial help supported Jindra’s plans to graduate in five years. Education majors typically opt for five year degrees, especially when completing a double major as Jindra will accomplish in May 2014. She will graduate with duo degrees in teaching and English with a liberal arts emphasis, as well as a Teaching Technology Certificate through the UMD Continuing Education program. “It wasn’t always easy. I had to go above the benchmark of credits, sometimes taking as many as 19 credits a semester. But between my involvement with different committees as well as academic courses, I have had an incredibly well-rounded education.”
The Harry Oden Scholarship was established when a UMD African-American advisor was inspired by Oden’s life story. As a young boy, Oden was told by his father to stay in school. Shortly after, his father died in a car accident. Oden never forgot his father’s words and attended college at UMD and played basketball for the campus team. UMD advisor, Ken Foxworth, was touched by this story and decided to raise money for underrepresented students by running from Minneapolis to Duluth in 1994, and then in 1995 when he ran from Two Harbors to St. Paul. The scholarship was organized and has since been awarded to numerous students.
“I have been given so much,” said Jindra, “and I have tried to make the most of it. I can’t believe that I’m graduating next year, but I’m excited to share my passion for reading. I’m excited to give back what was given to me.”
Written by Christiana Kapsner, October 2012