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From left, Brent Trentham, Molly Schaeffer and Rachel Trentham
From left, Brent Trentham, Molly Schaeffer and Rachel Trentham

An innovative program at UT that prepares math and science majors to be teachers has established an endowed scholarship for students, thanks to the generosity of two donors.

Molly Schaeffer, of Nashville, a senior majoring in mathematics, is the first recipient of the Brent L. and Rachel W. Trentham Endowed Scholarship through the VolsTeach program.

The $1,200 scholarship can be used for tuition and living support. It will be given each academic year to an undergraduate student.

“It’s a great way to recognize some of our top students who have demonstrated high-quality teaching skills and commitment to the profession,” said Susan Newsom, assistant director of VolsTeach.

VolsTeach prepares math, science, and engineering majors to become teachers. It was implemented as a teacher preparation model to address the critical shortage of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) middle and high school teachers in the state of Tennessee.

The gift for the endowed scholarship came from Brent and Rachel Trentham, who are both UT graduates. Brent Trentham is on the VolsTeach Leadership Council and is a financial planner with Ameriprise Financial. He previously established the Paul E. Trentham Sr. Library Staff Award for Exemplary Service in honor of his father. The award recognizes staff members in UT Libraries.

Rachel Trentham works in the home health care industry.

VolsTeach began in fall 2010 and graduated its first class of students in spring 2013. The program currently has 110 students who are working to complete the secondary teaching minor. Students are able to earn a degree in their discipline and a secondary education teaching license within four years and at no extra cost. Their degree provides them with two career paths.

The program is a collaboration between the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences. VolsTeach is a replication site of the UTeach Institute, a successful teacher preparation model developed at the University of Texas at Austin.

To learn more about VolsTeach, visit the website.


Lola Alapo (865-974-3993,