Caitlin Vaverek, Class of 2014, graduated Summa Cum Laude in May with dual degrees in elementary and special education. Originally from Plantation, Florida, she could not imagine moving three states away to attend school, but after receiving the Levine Scholarship, she knew this was the right decision. “To say that my time here at UNC Charlotte has been memorable would be an understatement. I have learned from some of the best professors in the field of education and made friends that will last a lifetime. I will always be proud to call myself a 49er,” Vaverek says.
Over the past four years Vaverek has immersed herself in the Charlotte community interning with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, serving meals at the Ronald McDonald House, volunteering with the Down Syndrome Association, and completing her student teaching and clinical hours at local elementary schools. On campus she has been an active member of the Student Council for Exceptional Children and Kappa Delta Pi International Education Honor Society. In the fall of 2013, she co-chaired UNC Charlotte’s first annual Dance Marathon, which raised over $35,000 for Levine Children’s Hospital.
Vaverek studied abroad in Finland during her sophomore year where she developed a passion for teaching students from various cultures. Upon her return to the US, she worked with the International Rescue Committee in Seattle teaching refugee youth and has since interned in a Special Education Center in India. Vaverek realizes that the opportunities afforded to her would not have been possible without the Levine Scholars Program. “I would not be where I am today without this program. Through the various experiences and summer internships over the past four years, I have been able to learn and grow as both a professional and an individual,” she says.
Vaverek received a Fulbright U.S. Student Award to teach English in Nepal during the 2014-2015 school year. She plans to pursue a Master’s degree in international development upon her return to the United States next summer.