UMW professors describe Martha Keegan ’18, M.Ed., ’19 as creative, determined, and inventive. These qualities Martha exhibits as a Mary Washington student and scholarship recipient provide the perfect framework as she completes the final preparation for a career in teaching.
Martha grew up in Richmond and often struggled to decide if she wanted to be an artist or a teacher. Through her experiences at Mary Washington and in her volunteer service work with several youth initiatives – including the Muscular Dystrophy summer camp program, Hungry Brains at Hazel Hill, and a youth leadership conference – she discovered she can be both.
“At UMW, I learned about the value of visual arts integration in the classroom so elementary students can creatively solve problems and complete tasks,” says Martha. “My goal is to help all students gain appreciation and love for each other and for learning.”
While completing her undergraduate program, Martha benefited from scholarships and awards created and funded by private donors. In 2017, her artistic talent was recognized when she received the Ann Elizabeth Collins Memorial Art Award. For the 2017-2018 academic year, she was awarded three endowed scholarships: the Barbara Diane Hall Memorial Scholarship, the Nina G. Bushnell Scholarship, and the Alfred Levitt Memorial Scholarship in Art. In May 2018, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in studio art.
Now, Martha is working as a student teacher through the Ukrops Scholars Program. Established in 2012 through funds administered by the Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region, this program provides financial assistance and a structured externship in Richmond City public schools.
“In addition to student teaching next spring, I will also be collecting data to study the impact that artistic drawing has on student understanding and engagement during literacy lessons,” says Martha. “After graduation in May, I hope to teach in an elementary school in Richmond and continue making my own art as time allows.”
As Martha finishes her final semester at Mary Washington, she is aware of the incredible amount of support she has received from UMW professors and from private donors. Each experience and opportunity illustrates the importance of a liberal arts education and the impact and power of philanthropy in motion.