Southeast Missouri State University was originally established as a teacher's college. Today, educating the next generation of teachers is still a huge part of what Southeast does. Kaitlyn Phillips serves as a steadfast example of that spirit of learning.

Kaitlyn Phillips always knew she wanted to be a teacher. It was her plan in elementary school and didn't change all the way to her time at Southeast Missouri State University. 

At Southeast, she finished the credit hours and started student teaching. Then, life took a turn. 

Kaitlyn was diagnosed with cancer and everything progressed quickly from there. Before she knew it, she wasn't able to continue doing everything she knew and loved, including student teaching. Eventually, she was told that her cancer had no cure. Recently, she decided she was going to stop chemotherapy treatments

Still, she persevered, one day at a time. She was able to apply for graduation under a different degree path and still receive her Bachelor of Science. Although she wasn't able to finish the degree she started and become the teacher in that moment, she's officially a Redhawk alumna. She was presented her diploma at her home by Dr. Rodney Pensel,  the director of Field Experiences in the Department of Education. 

Kaitlyn Phillips will also remain a part of the SEMO world, no matter the outcomes. The Kaitlyn Marie Phillips Endowed Scholarship that been established, and Kaitlyn chose the criteria.  

For her, it was important that the recipients of her scholarship were people who truly believed in education and made it their mission to teach the next generation. The scholarship will go to juniors or seniors majoring in Early Childhood education who reflect the same values she stands for. 

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