Taylor Dorsey is one of eight Patterson Scholarship recipients.
Bestselling author awards scholarships for aspiring teachers
James Patterson has filled the pages of his more than 70 novels with all manner of murderer, thief and blackmailer.
But to Taylor Dorsey, the author is an angel.
Dorsey is among eight University of the Pacific students selected to receive a James Patterson Teacher Education Scholarship. Each was awarded $6,000 for the 2013-14 academic year.
Her fellow recipients are Denise Amaya, of Manteca; Ellen Dettman, of Galt; Rebekah Goldman, of Modesto; McCale Guilfoile, of Hayfork; Xiao Di Li, Oakland; Jennifer Montemayor, San Francisco; and Timothy Shumate, Stockton.
All are full-time freshman who have expressed an interest in pursuing a career as an elementary or secondary school teacher.
In making the gift, Patterson expressed his desire that recipients understand the importance of promoting literacy and have the motivation and intent to instill in their students an enduring and lasting love of reading.
"These scholarships will help many generations of students," said Lynn Beck, dean of Pacific's Gladys L. Benerd School of Education. "They will help us prepare exceptional teachers with a passion for reading and literacy, and they will pass this on to the children they teach, who will in turn pass a love of reading and learning on to their children. We are so grateful to Mr. Patterson for his generosity and for his dedication to making ours a more literate society."
For Dorsey, the desire to become a teacher began in early childhood. Born deaf, she received a cochlear implant at age three. By the time she reached high school, she was giving back.
Dorsey was an active volunteer with Reach for Books, a nonprofit organization that raises money to send Spanish books to remote communities along the Amazon River in Peru. She also volunteered with the Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity, and Operation School Bell, which helps Northern California children in need buy school clothes.
Her efforts were noticed as far away as the White House: Earlier this year, President Obama awarded her a "President's Volunteer Service Award."
"Since I got so much help in my life - from my teachers, my doctors, my parents - I wanted to help others," she said.
The Pleasanton 19-year-old is now enrolled in Pacific's Gladys L. Benerd School of Education, and considering a career as a special education teacher.
Patterson wrote his first novel in 1976. Today, he is the author of an estimated one in every four hardcover suspense/thriller novels sold, holds the Guinness record for No. 1 New York Times bestsellers, and was the first author to hit 10 million e-book sales.
He too is giving back.
For the past decade, the author has been championing books and reading through such efforts as the James Patterson Pageturner Awards, the website ReadKiddoRead.com, and regular donations of books to schools in the United States and to troops overseas.
In 2013 alone, the James Patterson Teacher Education Scholarships program awarded more than $1 million to students at colleges and universities around the country, including Vanderbilt, Michigan State University and the University of Wisconsin.
University of the Pacific is the first West coast institution of higher education to be included in the program.
Dorsey's $6,000 award - renewable through graduation if she keeps up her grades - was pivotal in enabling her to attend Pacific.
"Pacific was my first choice, but I had decided I couldn't afford it, and I was going to go to a junior college," said Dorsey, the daughter of a crane operator and daycare provider. She has two older siblings, including a brother who was also born deaf.
Unbeknown to Dorsey, Beck submitted an application to the Patterson Foundation on her behalf. The dean of the School of Education had met Dorsey at school visit events during the summer, and was impressed with her application essay.
"I am so thankful and feel so blessed that I won the James Patterson award," Dorsey said. "Besides the fact that he is my older brother's favorite author, I feel honored to be recognized by such a well-known person. It's still hard for me to believe. Every day, when I walk through campus, I think about him because he is the reason I was able to make the final decision to attend my top-choice school. It is really a dream come true, and I hope I get the opportunity to meet him someday."