Ellen Dettman, of Galt, is one of the 16 Gladys L. Benerd School of Education students to receive a James Patterson Teacher Education Scholarship.

Ellen Dettman, of Galt, is one of the 16 Gladys L. Benerd School of Education students to receive a James Patterson Teacher Education Scholarship.


Bestselling novelist awards scholarships for aspiring teachers

May 8, 2015

Acclaimed novelist and literacy advocate James Patterson has outshined the heroes in any of his many books by funding new scholarships for 11 University of the Pacific students who aspire to be teachers.

The recipients of the James Patterson Teacher Education Scholarship - all students in Pacific's Gladys L. Benerd School of Education - will receive $6,000 per year toward their education for as long as they study to become teachers and keep up their grades. In all, Patterson scholarships now support 16 students at Pacific.

"The Patterson scholarship is life-changing," said Lynn Beck, dean of the Benerd School of Education. "Students come to us with great zeal for teaching and tremendous desire to develop their skills through our programs. The Patterson scholarship is often the tipping-point opportunity that means a student can come to Pacific and finish on time, because he or she is free to focus on studying and on all that is involved in becoming a teacher."

Patterson first invited Pacific two years ago to join the 24 universities across the country where students receive the scholarships. Pacific was the first West Coast institution of higher education to be included.

The new recipients are Florencio Bungalon '18, Alexandra Lopez '16, Jared Rivera '18, and Amanda Utterback '16, all of Stockton; Jordan Hernandez '18, of Oakland; Alexandra Holt '18, of Sacramento; Yvanna Jaramillo '18, of San Jose; Fantazya Kemnitz '18, of Morgan Hill; Ashley Ledgerwood '18, of Lompoc; Bailey Nelson '18, of Tracy; and Cierra Williams '18, of Oakley.

In addition, five students earned a second year of Patterson scholarship support: Denise Amaya '17, of Manteca; Ellen Dettman '17, of Galt; Taylor Dorsey '18, of Pleasanton; Jennifer Montemayor '17, of San Francisco; and Timothy Shumate '17, of Stockton.

The Patterson scholarships are a point of pride for Pacific and the Benerd School of Education, Beck said.

"James Patterson is passionate about early literacy," she said. "We share his passion and we are committed to ensuring that young people in our community read and read well because we are graduating teachers who won't let them slip through the cracks. We are so honored to be connected to James Patterson and to be working with him to ensure that every child becomes a happy and enthusiastic reader."

For second-year scholarship winner Dettman, a lifelong love and enthusiasm for reading and literacy fueled her drive to become a teacher.

"I want to inspire elementary students to read, to inspire them to have fun," Dettman said.

She recalled that her love for reading began early and with her family. Her father, John, would read to her each evening and later they would read together. Books were also gifts at holidays, and she would read along with books on tape. Her mother, Tammy, used to work at the Galt Joint Union Elementary School District office, but now is the librarian at Marengo Ranch Elementary School in that district, where she enjoys making sure students have books to read.

For more information about the James Patterson Teacher Education Scholarships and the author's other efforts to promote literacy, visit www.jamespatterson.com.

Media contact:

Keith Michaud | 209.946.3275 (office) | 209.470.3206 (cell) | kmichaud@pacific.edu

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