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McKay School Graduate Accepted to Top Tier Program at Vanderbilt


Marybeth Tew comes from a family that bleeds blue. The youngest of five children, she will be the seventh in her family to graduate from Brigham Young University as she receives her bachelor’s. And she is going further. She has received a prestigious scholarship as well as a graduate assistantship to work toward a master’s in special education from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education, recognized nationally as a top-tier program.

A native of Gillette, Wyoming, 24-year-old Marybeth considers her time as an undergraduate to be some of the best years of her life.

“I’m really glad that I got to go to BYU,” Tew said. “I love it here, and I’m excited that I get to move on. I’m really grateful for all the professors here who cared about me and who believed in my goals.” Tew loved her student teaching, and she always felt drawn to pursue a master’s degree. After finishing her degree, she plans on working with families as a behavior analyst, where she can use her skills to help children with behavioral disabilities.

Tew was surprised that she was accepted to Vanderbilt, but was ecstatic to receive the good news. “I really don't know why Vanderbilt accepted me or gave me a great scholarship,” Tew said. “All I know is that I felt very strongly that I should apply there. I almost didn't do it because I just didn't think I had time to get a quality application together. But I know I was supposed to do it. I consider it a miracle that it all worked out.”

Vanderbilt’s Peabody School of Education’s special education program is listed as the best special education-related graduate program in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. Tew will receive the Peabody Honors Scholarship, the most respected and competitive award a student can receive. It covers 66 percent of her tuition for up to three years. This scholarship allows Tew to participate in specialized lectures and events with faculty and deans. Tew has also been granted a Department of Special Education assistantship, which will cover even more of her tuition. Combined, these awards will cover roughly 90 percent of Tew’s tuition.

When she isn’t studying, Tew plays the piano, the cello, the organ, and loves to sing. She is excited that Vanderbilt is in Nashville, one of the largest music hubs in the United States. She participates in a variety of sports and is an avid gardener. She loves studying languages: she has taken classes in Spanish, Portuguese, American Sign Language, and linguistics.

Tew is one of 102 students graduating this August from the McKay School. She joins 34 other students in receiving degrees in teacher education. Additional graduates include 11 students receiving degrees in communication disorders and 24 graduating in secondary education. In addition, 26 students are receiving master’s degrees and six are receiving doctorates.