Erika Komp admitted to feeling a little disappointed when all her friends went away to college — living the “typical college life” — while she chose to live at home and pursue her Associate of Arts (AA) degree at the University of Delaware’s Georgetown campus.
At the time, it made the most fiscal sense. Her brother was undergoing expensive medical treatment and, by attending the AA program, Komp was able to save on tuition costs for her first two years of college.
Now a senior on UD’s Newark campus completing her bachelor of science degree in elementary teacher education (BSED), Komp knows she made the right decision.
“I am beyond elated that I chose the AA program,” said Komp. “I was able to save money, have great professors and made a life-long friend who is now my roommate.”
The Delaware SEED Scholarship Program — Student Excellence Equals Degree — is offered by the State of Delaware and covers tuition for many of the full-time students enrolled in the Associate in Arts Program. SEED Scholarships are granted to Delaware residents who graduate from a Delaware high school and meet and maintain an academic threshold.
One of the reasons Komp decided to go to UD was the extensive study abroad opportunities. She studied abroad in Scotland during her sophomore year in Georgetown, then participated in a Bahamas study abroad her junior year.
“I am always advocating for study abroad,” Komp said. “The experiences I had were amazing.”
She also joined UD’s elementary education organization known as APPLE, which stands for the Association of Pre-Professional Leaders in Education. Komp was elected outreach chair. She connects elementary education students at the Georgetown campus to activities and events in Newark, and answers questions about their classes and teacher certification requirements. In addition, she speaks at local high schools and conferences, advocating for UD and sharing how it helped her grow into the person she is today.
“I tell them, as a high school student, I had every desire to get away,” Komp said. “But four years later I can say I am happy I stayed in Delaware. UD is a top-rated school, full of opportunities and there is something for everyone. The Newark campus was far enough away from home, but still close enough where I can drive home, do my laundry and see my family. And I could eat loads of UDairy ice cream.”
Komp has always wanted to become a teacher and she said the elementary teacher education (ETE) program fostered her love of education and gave her the necessary skills to succeed in the classroom.
“When I was in high school, I never asked questions,” Komp said. “But the Georgetown campus helped me gain confidence. My professors and advisors were always there for me. They pushed me to be the best student I could be. To this day, I still reach out to them with questions and even letters of recommendation.”
From classroom management classes to field placements and technology classes, Komp is ready to implement her newfound knowledge and skills in her own classroom.
“I am proud of the work I have accomplished in college,” said Komp. “I will graduate with little debt and be able to move out on my own and support myself. And best of all, I am going to do what I love every single day — which is teaching. I am so proud to be a Blue Hen.”