Brittney Ivanov standing in front of Northrup Hall.
Raise Your Hand, Trinity
Tigers benefit from Texas scholarship for aspiring teachers
Thursday, August 2, 2018

Brittney Ivanov is a passionate science educator, and an inaugural scholarship wants to match her passion with financial support, professional development, and mentorship from other top educators.

Ivanov is one of nine Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) students at Trinity awarded The Charles Butt Scholarship for Aspiring Teachers: $10,000 for one year in the MAT program to promising individuals interested in teaching in the state of Texas. “I thought I’d take the Ph.D. route eventually,” says Ivanov, an Austin native. “I’ve worked in research labs since the beginning of my undergraduate studies. But I realized that’s not what I want to do,” she continues. “I want to do science outreach and educate the public about science.” Ivanov wants to teach middle school students and is pursuing her teaching certificate for secondary education, grades 7-12.

Ivanov earned a Bachelor of Science in zoology from Michigan State University and worked in Trinity biology professor Michele Johnson’s research lab before entering Trinity’s MAT program in summer 2018. Working as a lab technician allowed her to blend her passions in science and pedagogy. “We go to elementary schools, science fairs, and family nights doing presentations with our pet lizard,” said Ivanov of the Johnson lab. “We share with them what we’re doing in our lab.”

The Charles Butt Scholarship for Aspiring Teachers is part of a $50 million Raising Texas Teachers initiative sponsored by the Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation. Trinity University is one of 11 Raising Texas Teachers partners receiving these scholarship funds. “Our hope is the students share what they learn, and the program will continue to grow and make an impact throughout the state,” said Laura Allen, Ph.D., professor of education and scholarship administrator at Trinity.

The Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation facilitates ongoing training, networking with statewide Charles Butt scholars, and mentorship from a local principal or educator. “It’s multi-layered,” Allen says. “New teachers will be prepared by people who are already following best practices.”

Ivanov says the economic support is making a huge difference for her and her family as she takes off work to complete the MAT. “They’re offering more than just the financial portion of the scholarship—they’re offering other resources for success,” Ivanov says.

The inaugural cohort was chosen from a pool of 350 candidates through a competitive selection process, which included a written application, interviews, group activities, and a demonstration teaching lesson. In its inaugural year, 100 scholarships were awarded across the state. The program will grow to provide 500 teaching scholars annually. Recipients are committed to teaching in high-needs Texas public schools or in hard-to-fill subject areas. “I’d love to stay here and get established in San Antonio,” Ivanov says. “I’ll be at the Advanced Learning Academy for my internship.”

With support from the The Charles Butt Scholarship for Aspiring Teachers—professionally, academically and financially—Ivanov can channel her passions toward educating San Antonio’s future scientists. “I like to get people excited about science,” Ivanov says. “When they understand, they get excited, and it gets me excited too.”

Applications for the 2019 scholarship open on October 1. For more information, contact Laura Allen at

Nicolette Good graduated from Trinity University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Music. In addition to being a traditional writer, she is a working singer/songwriter, as well as a staff musician for Home Street Music, a nonprofit that uses music to empower individuals who have experienced homelessness.

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