Skip to main content

Doctoral alumni profile – Bieter Fellowship recipient Nate Anderson

Nate Anderson pictured with his family
Nate Anderson with his family

Nate Anderson, a 2022 doctoral graduate from the College of Education’s Curriculum, Instruction and Foundational Studies program, has dedicated years to increasing educational opportunities for children and adolescents through school programming.

The father of four children, Anderson’s experience in the doctoral program was anything but normal, and not just because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The same day that the College of Education offered him a placement in the program, he was faced with every parent’s nightmare – his 2-year-old daughter was diagnosed with childhood leukemia.

“It was heartbreaking,” Anderson said. “I remember a nurse putting out an Easter basket for her and I was overwhelmed.”

At the time of his daughter’s diagnosis, the pandemic had not yet begun, but Anderson and his family began using masks and protective equipment around their immunocompromised daughter.

When the pandemic restrictions began in March of 2020, Anderson recognized the especially quick response of Boise State University to accommodate his continuing doctoral work. “The speed at which the university adapted was remarkable,” Anderson said. “There was basically no interruption between my work before and after the university moved online.” He also noted how surreal the shift felt. “We were already wearing masks due to my daughter’s diagnosis. Now everyone was doing what we had been doing for months.”

In addition to the support he received in the program, Anderson expressed gratitude for being awarded major financial support through the Pat and Eloise Bieter Doctoral Fellowship for his work with Idaho schools. The Bieter Fellowship was established by the family of former legislator and educator Pat Bieter and his wife Eloise, who were also the parents of former Boise mayor Dave Bieter, and John Bieter, professor of history at Boise State.

“It’s a great family that provides funding for doctoral candidates working on their dissertations. This fellowship came at a critical time in our family. It took the right people at the right time to make this possible,” Anderson said.

Anderson also extended thankfulness for the support he received from family, friends, and community groups. His children’s schools and his family’s church held fundraisers and various charitable organizations that stepped up to build a community of comfort, care, and assistance. The Andersons are especially grateful to those organizations that help to build communities for families affected by childhood illness, including Make-A-Wish Idaho, Camp Rainbow Gold, and Magic Valley Pediatric Cancer Coalition.

Reflecting on his journey at Boise State, Anderson emphasized the value of education programs. “Education is an investment that pays off everywhere. Education is the only business where the bottom line is a human, not a dollar sign.”

-By Thomas Pitts