Why I Give: ‘It Feels Good to Know that I’m Helping Other Students Be Blessed in the Same Way I Was,’ Says Elementary Education Major Eric Wylie ‘23
Editor’s Note: This is part of a monthly “Why I Give” series in which NC State College of Education alumni, students, faculty and staff share why they support the college.
Even before he reached high school, Eric Wylie ‘23 knew that working with kids was his passion. He would take every opportunity to volunteer with kids, from leading a group at summer day camps to helping run a local music workshop for elementary school children.
As the recipient of the Dorothy E. and Robert W. Tart, Jr. Scholarship from the NC State College of Education, Wylie is now able to make a career out of that passion. Today he is studying to become an elementary education teacher with an add-on certification in English as a Second Language (ESL). Without the support of scholarships, Wylie, who is financially responsible for his education, says he would not have been able to attend a four-year university, especially one as prestigious as NC State.
“I chose education because it is the most important field. An excellent, challenging and inclusive education is vital to allowing students to progress and make our world better when they are our scientists, lawmakers, doctors, engineers, farmers, entertainers, law enforcement officers and food-service workers,” he said.
The financial support Wylie receives has inspired him to give back to the College of Education to help others like him be blessed in the same way that he is, not only through scholarships but through the college’s enriching programs and experiences.
Wylie, who loves singing, playing piano, going to the movies and making people laugh, has found his place on campus. The Garner, North Carolina, native sings in the all-male a cappella group, Grains of Time, which has led to him developing lifelong friendships and having life-shaping experiences. When he’s not singing or studying, Wylie can be found learning something new on the piano, hanging out with his friends or playing in his band. He also works at an after-school program at a local elementary school.
In the Q&A below, Wylie talks why he supports the college and how financial support has impacted his experience. The following is edited for length and clarity.
Why did you want to become a teacher?
I want to be a teacher because I love working with kids and I think I will really enjoy educating the next generation, which is one of the most important jobs in the world. I want to leave an important impact on my students, as my best teacher left on me.
Why did you choose to attend the NC State College of Education?
I chose NC State primarily because of the financial opportunities offered to me by the school; however, I knew that by selecting NC State I was also guaranteed a top-tier education — one that would fully prepare me for the classroom.
Why do you give to the NC State College of Education?
I give to the NC State College of Education because I am living proof that they are doing everything they can for their students to help them and give them the best path toward a most honorable career. It feels good to know that I’m helping other students be blessed in the same way I was, not only through scholarships, but through the enriching College of Education programs.
What do you hope to see happen as a result of your gift?
I hope my gift results in both the offering of more scholarships to other students as well as the betterment of the school itself through new programs and opportunities.
Why do you feel it’s important to give back?
It’s important to give back because I know that there are so many more students who will come after me and I want to do my part to make sure that their time in the College of Education is even better than mine.
How has private financial support impacted your experience?
Scholarships have been absolutely vital to my experience. Due to the scholarships I received from NC State, being financially responsible for my college has become manageable, and I can guarantee that there’s no way I would’ve been able to afford a four-year university like this on my own.