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OJC Press Release ID: 2699

Monday, October 16, 2017

Rodger W. Bybee Education Scholarship awarded


With the launch of the TPREP partnership between Otero Junior College (OJC) and the University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) to offer a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, OJC was contacted by alumnus Rodger W. Bybee, PhD to set up an endowed scholarship. The scholarship will provide a first generation student entering the field of education, particularly those with a focus on science and math education, with tuition assistance. In addition to setting up the endowment, Bybee provided funds to be awarded during this academic year.

This year’s Rodger W. Bybee Education Scholarship was awarded to NaTasha Montoya. The 2009 graduate of Rocky Ford High School completed her Associate of Science degree at OJC in 2011, graduating Cum Laude. She returned this year to complete prerequisite courses for the education degree and first-year CU Denver TPREP classes.

Montoya is confident in her abilities to complete the program and hopeful that after graduation she will be able to give back by teaching in the Arkansas Valley. “I believe that I am a great candidate for this scholarship because I will use it for the purpose that it is intended. I have had a number of years of experience coaching, mentoring and working as a paraprofessional throughout the Arkansas Valley. I hope that I can inspire other young minorities to make their dreams into a reality.”

Rodger W. Bybee graduated from OJC in 1962. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology and fine arts and a Master of Arts degree in science education and earth science from the University of Northern Colorado and a PhD in science education and psychology from New York University. A dedicated educator and researcher throughout his career, Bybee continues to write and consult in retirement.

The TPREP partnership brings together a top public urban research university and a prestigious rural junior college to provide a four-year pathway to a teaching license that will prepare students with an education that is rooted in proven best practices and a strong commitment to working in rural communities. Multiple early field experiences and a full year of teaching experience in the final year are incorporated into the four-year program.

For more information about the program or enrollment, contact:

University of Colorado Denver: Chris Ricciardi, 303-315-6300, Otero Junior College: Ellen Schreivogel, 719-469-1621,

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NaTasha Montoya of Rocky Ford is the first recipient of the Rodger W. Bybee Education Scholarship.

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Rodger W. Bybee, PhD