Scholarship Recipients

2023 Recipients

Rebecca Ferber, Chestnut Hill College – pursuing MEd in Special Education and Secondary English (2024)

Rebecca is a stellar graduate student, maintaining a 4.0 GPA. She previously graduated in 2014 from the University of Pittsburgh with a BA in English Literature and a Certificate in Children’s Literature. Since 2018, she has worked as an Instructional Aide in Special Education for the Lower Merion School District. She has also been a cheerleading coach for all three of the district’s middle schools, and previously coached at the high school for five years. Other past experiences have included two years as a private nanny, working as an Assistant Educator at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, student teaching and volunteering for two months in Muizenberg, South Africa, and an undergraduate internship with the Fred Rogers Company, working on a short film about Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. In her essay, Rebecca highlighted the importance of integrating Social-Emotional Learning into her lesson planning process. She shared some specific examples highlighting her ability to “meet a child where they are” and to make an impact as she helps her students to learn to reflect on their behaviors. There was one particular elementary student with whom Rebecca established a good rapport that no others did, to the point that she was transferred to the middle school in order to continue to work with that student. Rebecca’s recommenders stated that her positive attitude and constant smile light up the room, her enthusiasm is contagious, that she is an asset to the classroom, and that she is deserving of this scholarship.

Mitzi Herron, Gwynedd Mercy University – MS in Education Master Teacher with a specialization in PreK-4 Certification (2024)

Mitzi is another impressive graduate student who has a 4.0 GPA. She completed her undergraduate studies at Pennsylvania College of Technology in 2009 with a BS in Dental Hygiene with a Health Policy and Administration Concentration. Mitzi is transitioning into the Education field after a long career in dental hygiene. In her essay, Mitzi explained how she actually realized her passion for teaching and desire for working with children early in her career as a dental hygienist. She is a strong believer that learning can take place anytime and anywhere, so she would engage her young patients in counting and letter identification games while they were waiting for the dentist’s exam. In addition, Mitzi also recognized a public health need for oral hygiene education amongst elementary-aged children and traveled to local schools to do presentations. Although frequently told she “would have made a great teacher” and had “missed her calling” Mitzi’s transition was inspired by her experience serving as the pre-K cyber-school guide to her own three children, which gave her a taste of the role of a teacher and prepared her for the life-changing decision that she finally made. Mitzi’s recommendation letters highlighted her strong work ethic, her strong ability to receive and implement feedback, and her development of high quality lessons, and stated that her creativity, attention to detail and passion for teaching will make her a remarkable teacher who will be an asset to any school fortunate enough to hire her.

Elizabeth Rattazzi, Saint Joseph’s University – Master of Science as a Literary Specialist with ESL Certification (2024) & BS in Elementary and Special Education (2023)

Elizabeth completed her undergraduate studies in May 2023 and is continuing on for an additional year of graduate studies.  Her GPA at the time her scholarship application was submitted was 3.88. During the Spring 2023 semester, Elizabeth completed student teaching placements at Merion Elementary School in a first grade classroom and a special ed classroom.  For the past few years, she has worked as a long term substitute assistant teacher at The Learning Experience early education center in Franklin Lakes, NJ and as a Scholar at the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support on Saint Joe’s campus. She previously worked as an Assistant Librarian for Children’s Programs at the Tuxedo Park Library in New York. Elizabeth’s campus leadership and involvement has included terms as both President and Historian of the Kappa Delta Kappa Education Honor Society chapter, Fundraising Chair of Phi Sigma Sigma sorority, and both Secretary and Education & Awareness Chair of the Circle of Sisterhood group. In her essay, Elizabeth spoke about specific teachers throughout her childhood who each had their own impact on her, and shared a metaphor about them being drops that grew into an ocean that ultimately inspired her to pursue a teaching career herself. Her recommenders commended her passion for the teaching profession and one of them stated that she is the most impressive student leader they have encountered in their 5 years at St. Joe’s.

Joshua Schield, La Salle University – BA in Secondary Education and History with a minor in Religion (2024)

Joshua is a student in the Honors College, he is the recipient of the Founder’s Scholarship and DENA Scholarship, and his overall GPA is 3.98. Joshua’s experience includes serving as the President of the Education Association at La Salle since 2021, working as a Science and Sports Specialty Leader at the YMCA Camp in Towson, MD for two summers, volunteering with the La Salle Neighborhood Tutoring program, and membership in the History Honor Society and the student historical society called “The Histories”. He also achieved Eagle Scout status, with his project being the repurposing of an entrance garden for the BYKOTA Senior Center in MD. In his essay, Joshua spoke about his radical optimism and how he exhibits this attitude in all of his experiences, bringing a positive energy and level of enthusiasm that is infectious. He doesn’t hesitate to boost his co-workers, campers and students with comments that they are doing fantastic or amazing, and has seen the impact of his optimism, as he’s then heard others making similar comments.  Joshua’s recommenders stated that he is driven and hardworking, that his commitment to education is evident, and that he will make an excellent social studies teacher and role model to his students.

Cianni Williams, Drexel University – Accelerated dual degree program: BS in Education with a concentration in Social Studies and a minor in History & MS in Advanced Teaching, Learning and Curriculum (2024)

Cianni is a Drexel Liberty Scholar and recipient of the 2022 Courageous Conversation Fellowship.  Her GPA is 3.83.  She is currently a Tutor and Teacher Assistant at Steppingstones Scholar Inc., recently student taught at West Oak Lane Charter School and was a Drexel Peer Leader last summer. This past year, she created the new Equity and Inclusion Chair in Drexel’s chapter of the Kappa Delta Pi Education Honor Society. In her essay, Cianni shared her personal story that she actually didn’t want to be an educator because of various hardships she experienced in elementary school, but that everything changed in 6th grade when her father passed away and she found unexpected warmth and care from her teachers. Things shifted and school became her safe space and by high school, she had decided to pursue a career in education in order to be able to carry the flame of hope and encourage her future students the same way her teachers did for her. Her recommenders highlighted Cianni’s ability to make connections with students and stated that she is on her way to becoming one of the best educators of our time.