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Four UT Knoxville Students Receive James Patterson Scholarship

Best-selling author James Patterson believes a love of reading starts with encouraging high-quality teachers. That’s why the Patterson Family Foundation awarded $6,500 to four University of Tennessee, Knoxville graduate students in English and Elementary Education.

“These scholarships for teacher education really highlight the true commitment that James Patterson and his wife, Susan Solie Patterson, have to making sure children receive a quality education,” said Bob Rider, dean of the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences. “The Patterson’s investment in teacher preparation is making a real impact on higher education, and we are pleased to have our college affiliated with the crucial work of their foundation.”

Scholarship recipients share a love of reading and a passion for sharing that love with students. Each recipient is asked to write an essay describing what they have learned throughout the year and how they can apply it in their future classrooms.

Kelsey Fields

Kelsey Fields is an elementary education major from Knoxville, Tennessee. Both her elementary teachers’ passion for reading and children’s excitement to learn inspired Kelsey to pursue this degree. Outside of school, she is a Young Life leader and a nanny.

“To receive the James Patterson Scholarship is a huge honor. I am proud to be recognized for my love for literacy as well as the opportunity to continue to pass on this love for reading to my students through my education at the University of Tennessee.”

Rebecca GarrenRebecca Garren is from Athens, Tennessee. Her mother was an English as a Second Language teacher which inspired her to pursue English education. She helps her mentor teach an after school drama club and attends We Read YA Book Club. She is currently working on her Master’s in Education and will receive her license to teach sixth through twelfth grade English in May

“Reading is a vital piece of every subject’s complex puzzle, and the James Patterson Scholarship places emphasis on the importance of teachers who possess a love for reading and wish to share that love with their students.”

Chantel KluemperChantel Kluemper earned her undergraduate degree in English education with a concentration in literature. She is currently working on her Master’s in Education and will receive her license to teach sixth through twelfth grade English in May. She is a full-time student teacher at a local middle school and volunteers for College Street, the Emerald Youth Foundation’s tutoring center.

“Being a teacher is a unique position because it allows you to help students master content knowledge while also challenging them to learn invaluable life skills. I primarily want to teach in middle school because I feel that it is one of the most vulnerable–and sometimes uncomfortable–times in a student’s life.”

Brianna WatkinsBrianna Watkins moved from Florida to Rogersville, Tennessee when she was eight-years-old. She graduated May 2018 with a degree in American Studies and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in elementary education. She loves to travel and has been to Italy, Switzerland and several states across the United States.

“Ever since I was little, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I remember playing school on the weekends, even waking up early so that I could start at 8 am, and teaching my stuffed animals science, math, English, and social studies.”

All four recipients of the scholarship are students in the college’s Department of Theory and Practice in Teacher Education.


Jules Morris,

Director of Marketing & Communications

College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences