YUMA, Colo. – Michael Sandstrom, a Chadron native and 2013 Chadron State College graduate, has been named the 2015 James Madison Fellow for Colorado.
The history fellowship, established by Congress in 1986, is designed to improve the teaching of the Constitution in American schools by funding the attainment of master’s degrees for U.S. social studies teachers.
Sandstrom, who is in his second year of teaching at Yuma High School in Colorado, will earn six graduate hours in constitutional study from Georgetown University in the Washington, D.C., area when he completes the summer 2016 institute. The credit hours will count toward his CSC master’s degree.
“I was ecstatic at the news. The fellowship presents valuable opportunities to learn about the constitution and our founding era that many teachers only dream about, so I feel fortunate to have received the fellowship,” said Sandstrom who is pursuing a master’s degree in history education at Chadron State.
He is part of a legacy at CSC. His brother, Zach, will graduate May 9. His wife, Sheyenne, his mother, JoAnn Sandstrom, and his mother-in-law, Lorie Hunn, are alumnae. Hunn is also a member of the CSC education faculty.
Teachers have always played a pivotal role in Sandstrom’s life.
“History and social studies has always interested me from middle school through high school and into my collegiate years. I believe the strength of my instructors at every level drove my interest, along with my own inquisitive nature. In my opinion, middle school teachers and my high school history and government teachers greatly influenced my decision to become a teacher,” he said.
He found his undergraduate social studies courses at CSC academically challenging and attributes his decision to apply for the fellowship to his college faculty.
Last year, Sandstrom’s application earned an honorable mention and a letter encouraging him to apply again. Applicants were selected based on the strength of their achievements, a constitutional essay and three letters of recommendation.
Chadron State faculty members Dr. Robert Knight, Dr. Dave Nesheim, and Dr. Tom Smith submitted recommendation letters in support of Sandstrom’s winning application this year.
“I appreciate their support through this process,” Sandstrom said.
Nesheim said Sandstrom’s fellowship is tremendous news and a well-deserved achievement.
—Tena L. Cook, Marketing Coordinator