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The Campaign for UC Davis

Stories of inspired gifts … stories that inspire giving

Office of University Development

UC Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616-5270

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Portrait of Physics teacher

Philanthropic support made it possible for Jessica Scheimer ’10, Cred. ’11, M.A. ’12 to reach for and teach about the sky.

Why is the sky blue?

This simple question changed the course of Jessica Scheimer’s life.

It was all because the answer was explained by a dynamic physics teacher at Rio Americano High School in Sacramento who inspired Scheimer to be a physics teacher.

“It’s because of his example that I am where I am today,” Scheimer said. “I hope that I can make a similarly profound impact on my students, both through physics and life lessons.”

Scheimer earned her bachelor’s degree in physics from UC Davis, where she took part in astrophysics research and taught laboratory classes to high school students. She then decided to pursue her master’s and teaching credential from the School of Education because of the school’s network of support, mentorship opportunities and hands-on teacher training.

“The program is wonderful because it’s given me a framework for applying what I learn in class right then in the classroom,” Scheimer said. “I feel like I am really prepared to be a teacher.”

While Scheimer had the drive and focus to pursue a master’s degree, she was truly able to reach for the skies because of philanthropic support. She received a fellowship from the Boyd Family Foundation, an award established by Mary Ann and Lou Peoples to encourage the next generation of classroom teachers, as well as the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation fellowship, which is awarded to individuals with a strong background in math or science who are committed to teaching high school science and math in the U.S.

“It was a big help to me because I just came out of my undergraduate degree, so paying for more years of school was a little daunting,” said Scheimer, who, even in a challenging job market, was hired as a full-time physics teacher at Jesuit High School in Carmichael, Calif., in Aug. 2011. “Because of this scholarship support I can do what I want to do and I didn’t have to worry about the cost of entry into this profession.”