Catching up with Klose recipient Juan Aguilar

Four years ago, Juan Aguilar made a decision that is about to make his last two years in college a whole lot more affordable.

In 2019, Aguilar — a first-generation student from Garden City, Kansas — applied for the Doris and Ralph Klose Scholarship, which covers tuition, books and fees for juniors and seniors who are studying math or science education at Wichita State University.

Aguilar, who is studying middle school math education, is currently in his junior year of college in the College of Applied Studies; and he’s grateful he made the decision to apply for the Klose Scholarship years ago.

“It has allowed me to focus on my studies without having to worry about whether my tuition will be paid,” Juan said. “As a low-income, first-generation student, the financial aid offered at WSU is by far my favorite thing.”

Juan has learned more about what it takes to be a qualified and active teacher in the school setting through his classes at WSU.

“As someone who grew up with few teachers that looked like me, I want to be that change. I want to represent my culture in the classroom.”

—Juan Aguilar

He realizes that there will be a lot of not just from his future students but also for himself while in both college and beyond. 

 “I feel like to be a good teacher, you must be willing to learn along with you students and then provide them with the skills to acquire knowledge,” said Juan.

He has also been learning how to accurately provide a safe and welcoming environment for students.

 “I heard someone say, ‘we are not only teachers of content but, teachers of students,’” Juan said. “It is important to establish a relationship and recognize the student as an individual.”

Juan is currently observing classes at Southeast High School. He will soon work his way up to do student teaching in spring 2023.

“As someone who grew up with few teachers that looked like me, I want to be that change,” Juan said. “I want to represent my culture in the classroom.”

Juan hopes to teach middle school and attend graduate school following graduation.

“I am hoping I will be able to give back to my community and not only inspire students but give them the tools to be successful in life.”

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