Recent graduate researches ways to help low-income students succeed

A passion for helping low-income students is motivating the further studies of Madeson Walgenbach ’16 of Oakfield, Wisconsin. She is pursuing her teaching certification and explored the concept of “Students from Low Socioeconomic Background: Succeeding in Spite of the Odds” for her senior research project.

Walgenbach majored in Spanish and educational studies, and earned teaching certifications in Spanish, English as a Second Language (ESL) and regular education. This summer, she is teaching third- through fifth-grade summer school at Murray Park Elementary School in Ripon. This fall, she will be teaching middle/high school Spanish at Waupun Junior/Senior High School.

“I chose the topic (for my research project) because of my interest in meeting the needs of a diverse range of students,” Walgenbach says. “My goal as an educator is to help all students to reach their maximum potential. Especially working with ELL students who often come from different cultures and backgrounds, I decided that finding out how students can succeed despite the odds against them would be a wonderful topic that could aid me and my future students.”

Walgenbach’s study examined factors that help students from low socio-economic backgrounds succeed. When designing her study, she analyzed several factors: student expectations, cultural background, and family involvement.

Her studies found that home life can pay a major role in the success of a child; however, “parents, despite being of low socioeconomic status, can also provide their students with the tools necessary for success, especially if they are intentional about it and understand the importance of education for their student,” Walgenbach says.

Lauren Hince ’18
Blaine, Minnesota


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