Jerrice Donelson

2013 The Dream Chaser


It’s OK to dream big.

That’s the lesson Jerrice Donelson learned as a student at University of Michigan-Dearborn. And it’s a lesson she now hopes to teach her own students.

“I want to be an integral part of the changing landscape in education representing underserved communities,” she said. “And, just maybe, I can help students’ dreams become a reality—just like UM-Dearborn did for me.”

Jerrice will get that chance when she begins her two-year term with Teach for America, serving in a high school in the Detroit region.

The selection as a Teach for America fellow was the culmination of years of prep work—from the Sunday school classroom to the campus Writing Center—and a growing desire to curb the widening achievement gap urban students experience.

During her time on campus, she has served as a writing consultant in the Writing Center and tutored a range of students, including English as a Second Language students, students with learning exceptionalities and dual-enrolled high school students.

Through her work with high school students, Jerrice became increasingly interested in teaching writing across the curriculum.

And an idea to write curriculum began to form. Jerrice wants to develop a writing curriculum that will prepare students for the demands of college writing.

It’s all part of her desire to help underserved students who struggle in college. She also has talked about developing a “bridge program” at UM-Dearborn that would introduce college skills into high schools to encourage student enrollment and retention.

“Jerrice is a true example of the type of student who represents our campus community and exemplifies our Metropolitan Vision,” said William Linn, associate professor of English. “Given her extensive efforts and support for others’ learning outcomes, Jerrice Donelson is making a real difference in the lives of so many current and future students.”

Looking ahead, Jerrice plans to continue to dream big. She aspires to complete a Ph.D. in curriculum and practice and become a first-year writing professor.