Among the many initiatives supported by the Annual Fund at the USC Rossier School of Education is the Yellow Ribbon Scholarship, awarded by Dean Karen Symms Gallagher to students who have served their country. Given support from the fund, military veterans receive a $10,000 scholarship from USC Rossier.
Jimmy Sembiring ’11, the 2013-14 recipient, sees teaching as a way to continue his service to his country. The Indonesian-born alum and his family moved to the San Fernando Valley when he was 11 specifically for the U.S education system and the opportunity to pursue higher education.
By high school, he already knew he wanted to join the U.S. Navy.
“I felt a strong connection with this country and everything it gave me, including a much better and brighter future,” he said. “I wanted to serve as a way to show my gratitude.”
While stationed in San Diego, Sembiring took classes at the community college and then transferred to the USC Marshall School of Business to earn his bachelor’s in business administration.
“It was here that I was able to utilize my ability to effectively communicate the language of numbers with my peers,” he said, “and that was when I realized that I enjoyed teaching mathematics.”
Sembiring is now pursuing his Master of Arts in Teaching at USC Rossier to become a high school math teacher. He described his first class as a student teacher at James Monroe High School: “I felt as nervous as anyone would teaching a class full of students for the first time, but also I felt at home — like I was in the service again and part of a team that works toward the greater good,” he said.
“I started off serving this country as a sailor, and now I am serving this country in the education of its students. My life has found purpose and meaning through teaching.”
He said the Yellow Ribbon Scholarship has allowed him to follow his passion for teaching at one of the nation’s best universities without the burden of paying full tuition.
“I am really grateful for the scholarship and grateful to those who have invested in veterans to ensure that we have the resources to pursue higher education,” Sembiring said. “I hope that this program continues to help veterans such as myself.”