Special education major earns outstanding student award

Contact: Nicole M. Leffler and Jeanne Baron

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—A Western Michigan University student in the College of Education and Human Development has been selected to receive the state's 2018 Dr. Charles Van Riper Outstanding College Student Award.

Megan Foreman, a senior from Plymouth majoring in special education and elementary mathematics, earned the award from the Michigan Council for Exceptional Children. It annually goes to one "extraordinary undergraduate student" who is an MCEC member.

The Van Riper Outstanding College Student Award is named after the speech-language pathology and audiology pioneer who founded WMU's speech pathology and audiology clinic more than 80 years ago. It will be presented to Foreman during the 2018 MCEC Children's Conference, set for Thursday, March 1, in the DeVos Place Convention Center in Grand Rapids.


Megan Foreman leaning on a podium.


Those nominating Foreman for the award cited her for a WMU career in which she has shown exceptional academic and teaching ability, mature leadership skills, compassion for others and passion for helping those with disabilities.

Foreman's peers noted that she is always willing to put in extra effort to help them and is the go-to person for other students in her program.

"She is also an active member of the campus community," one peer nominator wrote, "involving herself in different organizations, educational experiences and even speaking engagements."

Foreman has been extensively involved in the local community, serving as a youth development worker with Communities in Schools, a push-in mathematics tutor at Loy Norrix High School and a summer math teacher at WMU. In addition, she served in 2016-17 as president of WMU's Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education and now serves as president of the Michigan chapter of the Student Council for Exceptional Children Student Board.

Her nominators reported that she managed all of those activities well, plus excelled in her coursework, practicums at the Juvenile Detention Home in Kalamazoo and an elementary school in Parchment, and a semesterlong pre-internship at Parchment Middle School. In fact, the school where she pre-interned selected her to serve as the long-term substitute when her mentor teacher went on maternity leave for eight weeks.

Foreman was consistently described as someone who sets high standards for herself and teaches her students to set high standards, as well.

"She consistently exceeds the expectations of her mentor teacher, professors, classmates and students," a peer wrote. And according to one of her WMU professors, "She works tirelessly to help those with disabilities and shares her joy and passion with others so that they might experience it too."

Michigan Council for Exceptional Children

MCEC has sought since 1939 to uphold, and change where necessary, the laws, regulations and policies governing the delivery of special education and related services and improve the practice of education in school districts throughout the state.

As such, the council is committed to developing professionals who promote and maintain a high level of competence and integrity when providing services and engage in professional activities that benefit students with disabilities within their learning environment.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.