Relating to struggles


Morgan Deffenbaugh

A commuter student, Morgan Deffenbaugh stays connected on campus as a member of Delight Ministries and by helping teach the Basic Math course.

The classroom is where she wants to be

As a third-grade student struggling with her math assignments, Morgan Deffenbaugh’s teacher, Dawn Brubaker ’97, “went the extra mile.” 

“She sat down with me, and my abilities grew,” said Deffenbaugh ’25, of Columbus Grove, Ohio. “From that moment on, I wanted to be a teacher and be like her.” 

Now a primary P-5 education and intervention specialist double major at Bluffton University, Deffenbaugh has relished her education department field experiences in districts including Shawnee and Bluffton. She’s currently completing a pre-student teaching experience ahead of her fall student teaching placement in Ada.  

“I love it,” said Deffenbaugh. “When I get into a classroom, I know this is exactly where I want to be.”

In addition to gaining experience in elementary school classrooms, Deffenbaugh is helping Christy Garmatter, director of student success, teach the Basic Math class at Bluffton this semester. Garmatter has served as a mentor to Deffenbaugh.

“She came to me because she thought I would be able to connect with other students who struggle with math. I understand where they are coming from, and I can relate,” said Deffenbaugh, who has already passed her OAEs (Ohio Assessments for Educators) including math. “I’ll be teaching little kids in the future, but I feel more comfortable because she gave me this opportunity.” 

A commuter student, Deffenbaugh stays connected on campus as a member of Delight Ministries. She was encouraged to visit Bluffton by her father, Darren Deffenbaugh, a 1991 Bluffton graduate.

“He liked how there were smaller classes and that you could build a relationship with your professors,” said Deffenbaugh. “I really like that too, knowing that if I ever struggle, I can just talk to them, and they’ll go out of their way to help me.” 

Heading into her senior year, Deffenbaugh is gearing up for two semesters of student teaching.

“I’m looking forward to putting everything I’ve learned into practice,” said Deffenbaugh. “I’m nervous, but I’m also excited.”

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