Scholarship Recipients

2020 Recipient

Desmond Daniels, Arcadia University – Pursuing BA PreK-4/PreK-8 Special Education (2021) & MEd Literacy Studies, Concentration in TESOL & Reading (2022)
At the time of his scholarship application, Desmond’s cumulative GPA was an impressive 3.93. He has received the Dean’s Distinguished Award, is on the Dean’s Honor List, and is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. Desmond already has a significant amount of experience in the education field, including working in after school and summer programs at both Abington Friends School and Greene Street Friends School, where he is also a substitute teacher. Additional experience includes being a proctor for the Independent School Entrance Exam and the Secondary School Admission Test, as well as serving as a research assistant to a professor at Arcadia, working on a project examining various activist movements by young people. Desmond is involved on-campus as a member of the Education Club, Curriculum Club Advisory Group and Black Awareness Society. In his scholarship application essay, Desmond stated that he knew back in kindergarten that he wanted to be an educator; however, as a sophomore in high school he was obsessed with HGTV and home flipping, which had him considering other options. He was able to simultaneously take an architecture course at Tyler School of Art while also visiting a pre-K classroom bi-weekly, and he quickly found himself excited to visit the students while dreading his Saturdays studying architecture. The following summer, Desmond worked with 4 year olds at a summer camp, an experience which he calls life-changing, as that was when he knew that education was the right path for him. Both of Desmond’s recommenders had wonderful things to say about him and gave him the highest ratings on his passion for teaching, love of children, work ethic and communication skills. One referred to him as demonstrating strong academic and leadership skills, as well as being self-motivated, highly driven, thorough and well organized, and an overall outstanding student. The other recommender stated that he “could easily become one of the best educators in our profession” and that he is “well on his way to becoming a highly reflective teacher” who will “make a difference in the field of Education.” 

Scholarship Recipients

2019 Recipients

Recipients who were available to attend the DVEC luncheon 5/22/19 (L to R):
Sienna Coleman, Alexcia McKinney

 Sienna Coleman, Ursinus College – Pursuing BA in English & Education, Minor in Spanish – Class of 2020
Sienna has a GPA of 3.83. She has been inducted into the Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society and the Whitian’s Women’s Honor Society and she serves as the Vice President of New Member Education and Education Director of the Tri Sigma sorority chapter at Ursinus. Sienna’s relevant teaching experience includes working as a Math and Reading Tutor with Kumon Education Center, two semesters volunteering as an ESL teacher through a partnership between Ursinus and Centro Cultural Latinos Unidos Pottstown, a teaching fellowship last summer with Breakthrough Collaborative in Philadelphia, and a job as an associate teacher with Bright Horizons Daycare. She is also an editor with the Ursinus Grizzly newspaper and has been active in Ursinus Theater productions, both as a performer and a crew member. In her essay, Sienna shared insight about her experience with the 7th grade students that she taught writing to last summer in the Breakthrough program. She discovered that the students were at vastly different levels of preparedness, and specifically spoke about one particular student who was struggling and required additional assistance, and how all of the students, even that one, made strides in their essay writing abilities by the end of the summer. At times, Sienna felt intimidated and had some self-doubt, but she stated that “every time that a student would raise his or her hand and answer a question, I felt a wave of joy and pride wash over me” and that was evidence to her that they were listening and trying and gave her proof that she has what it takes to be a teacher. This is only validated by her glowing recommendations, which spoke of her campus leadership, belief in education’s transformational power, commitment to excellence, and enthusiasm. One of her recommenders referred to her as a “pipe cleaner teacher” – meaning that she is willing to be flexible to any extent that is needed and is always willing to go the extra mile – as well as a “sponge” – who, when given feedback, will take it and run with it. Sienna was recommended wholeheartedly for this scholarship and I think it’s obvious why we chose Sienna as one of our recipients.

Kaitlyn Ferreri, Drexel University – Pursuing BS in Middle Level Education, Concentration in Math and English, Minor in Psychology, TESL (Teaching of English as a Second Language) Certificate – Class of 2020
Kaitlyn is a student in the Pennoni Honors College and has a GPA of 3.84. Kaitlyn is the recipient of the A.J. Drexel Scholarship, the Philip Cronin Endowed Scholarship, and a Certificate of Merit in Professional Development. She is a member of Future Educators of Drexel and Alpha Sigma Alpha Sorority and sits on the Executive Board of Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society as the Secretary and Fundraising Chair. For the past two semesters, Kaitlyn completed a pre-student teaching experience at Science Leadership Academy Middle School in Philadelphia and she received an Unpaid Co-Op Grant from Drexel for this experience. In her essay, Kaitlyn discussed how that experience confirmed the confidence she has in her career decision. She specifically credited her cooperating teacher with encouraging her to not only teach a few daily lessons, but to actually take over an entire math class period each day. Through this opportunity, she learned about what teaching is really like – that “not every lesson goes according to plan, some days are better than others, and kids really, really, really like baby oranges.” Kaitlyn’s cooperating teacher was one of her recommenders, and her letter was very strong. She emphasized that Kaitlyn’s relationships with students are positive, caring and genuine, that she models productivity, persistence, effort and curiosity, and that she really is is a born educator. Kaitlyn’s other recommender, a Drexel professor, has similar sentiments, stating that Kaitlyn clearly loves teaching, is dedicated to her students and to her craft, and has a bright future in education.

Dillan Leonard, Rosemont College – Pursuing BS in Elementary and Special Education, Minor in Political Science – Class of 2020
Dillan has a GPA of 4.0. She is President of the Rosemont Book Club, Treasurer of the Campus Yoga club, Board Member of the Campus Honors Program Board,  member of the Drama Club, and has participated in the Alternative Spring Break and Winter Break Service Teams. Dillan is also a Peer Leader for New Student Orientation, a Head Tour Guide for the Office of Admissions, and a Reflection Group Facilitator with the Office of Campus Ministry. She has held multiple para-professional roles in the education field, including an Aftercare Caregiver and Teacher’s Assistant at Holy Child School at Rosemont, Substitute Teacher’s Assistant at Horseheads Central School District in NY state, and a Lifeguard at a campsite lake in Chemung County, NY. Dillan’s essay shared some personal experiences from her childhood that impacted her decision to become a teacher, specifically the challenges of being raised along with her three siblings by a single father with recession-based employment struggles. She referred to her childhood as “chaotic” but found school to be her safe haven, as her teachers knew of her situation at home yet never treated her differently. They were encouraging and cheerful and made her feel important, like she was the “main character in a storyline that would spell nothing but success” rather than the “extra in a family drama.” Dillan knew starting in kindergarten that she wanted to be a teacher, and has never wavered in this choice. She strives to be the teacher that makes all her students feel welcome and important. Her recommenders strongly support Dillan’s career goal. One stated that “she has the drive, energy, and spirit to do great things as an educator” and the other confirmed that Dillan has the “passion for instilling a love of learning in the students” that will make her a tremendous asset in the classroom.

Alexcia McKinney, Eastern University – Pursuing BA in Early Childhood Education, Concentration in English as a Second Language – Class of 2020
Alexcia has a GPA of 4.0 but she has so many A+’s that if Eastern assigned grades over a 4.0, she’d actually have a 4.16! Alexcia is actively involved on campus in leadership roles, including 2 years as an RA, President of Precious Moments, the campus dance ministry club, and membership in Kappa Delta Pi Education Honors Society. Her education-related experience has included volunteering as a helper with first grade students at Oxford Valley Elementary School, Teaching Sunday School at City Line Church, and hosting youth groups on summer service trips through City Service Mission. Alexcia is a student worker in Eastern’s College of Education and she has also spent her summers working as an entertainer at Sesame Place, which has included performing in costume as Elmo! Alexcia’s essay was very engaging, as it creatively shared her experience of a day-long job interview in a snowstorm that included a tour through neighborhoods in Philadelphia to visit various public schools. She was in tears when she saw buildings that looked more like prisons than elementary schools, and as she wrote “at this moment, as flakes of snow danced in the wind, I wholeheartedly knew that I made the right decision” and she believes that the snow symbolized a new beginning for her, establishing her goal as a future educator to help promote equity and equality in Philadelphia’s educational system. In her recommendation letters, Alexcia is described as smart, inquisitive, conscientious, creative, kind, generous, passionate, strong and gracious. As her recommenders stated “A strong case can be made for her combined academic, artistic, and leadership qualities that have prepared her well for professional excellence in the field of early childhood education” and “Alexcia is wholly deserving” of this scholarship.

Christina Photiades, Saint Joseph’s University – BA in English and Secondary Education, Minor in Spanish – Class of 2020
Christina has a GPA of 3.77. She is a campus leader, serving as a Head Resident Assistant and the Treasurer of the Tau Omega Chapter of the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education. She is also a student worker in the Writing Center. Christina has spent multiple semesters observing and assisting in classrooms at St. Martin of Tours School and Boys’ Latin of Philadelphia Charter School. Her essay describes how she knew as a junior in high school that she wanted to become a teacher, yet she had never expected to find herself at an inner city all boys’ school; however, that experience has changed her entire view on education. At the school, she was partnered with a teacher who was passionate and loved his job, which not only solidified her career decision but also sparked her interest in urban education and her desire to close the achievement gap that exists between minoritized groups. She aspires to provide her students with an outlook on education and academics that is more than just getting the grade and to create a positive environment where learning is encouraged and where students want to come to school. Christina’s recommenders stated that her passion for education is contagious, that she is a kind, good natured person full of positivity, and that she is a charismatic future teacher and advocate for educating the underserved who is well on her way to a successful career.

Staci Zsilavecz, Gwynedd Mercy University – Pursuing MS and Teacher Certification in Elementary Education (Pre-K-4) – Class of 2020
Staci currently has a GPA of 4.0. She is a 2016 magna cum laude graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Applied Developmental Psychology, followed by completion of a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from Lehigh University in May 2018 with a GPA of 3.9. During her undergraduate studies, Staci had the opportunity to study abroad at the University of Malaga in Spain, she was a Research Assistant and Community -Based Action Researcher in the School of Education, a Literacy Tutor, and a Supervisor at the Liberty Extended Day Program. She completed an internship in School Psychology with the Friendship Academy at the Watson Institute and spent six summers as the Program Coordinator for a City of Bethlehem Bureau of Parks and Recreation summer camp program. For the past three years, Staci has worked full-time as the Community School Coordinator for Cheston Elementary School in Allentown, where she coordinates services for over 500 low income students and their families. In her essay, Staci not only discussed her lifelong love of books but also disclosed her personal struggles with reading comprehension as a child, which she overcame with the help of her teachers and school reading specialist. She went on to excel in middle and high school, yet she then found herself once again struggling in college, and although she started off wanting to pursue dentistry, she eventually discovered that her passion is teaching.  Staci was enthusiastically recommended and praised for the impact she has had at Cheston School. Her recommenders provided a long list of her various accomplishments and made it clear that Staci is going to be an outstanding educator.

Scholarship Recipients

2018 Recipients

Recipients who were available to attend the DVEC luncheon 5/23/18 (L to R):
Kurt Deixler, Danielle Viverito, Rosetta Davis, Claire Yujin Choi

Claire Yujin Choi, University of Delaware – Pursuing BS in Elementary Education, Concentration in Special Education, Class of 2019
Claire has a GPA of 3.938. She previously attended Korea University for two years where she studied International Relations before transferring to the University of Delaware. Claire is fluent in both English and Korean, and also knows Spanish and Japanese. Since arriving at UD, Claire has worked as a Library Aide at the Education Resource Center, an office assistant in the School of Education and as a Teacher at the Delaware Korean School. She also held various teaching-related roles in Korea, including a preschool teaching assistant, English mentor and English teacher. Claire also participated in a rigorous 12-month internship with the US Embassy in Seoul as a Youth Coordinator, planning programs on U.S. foreign policy, culture and society; English language learning, and digital media. At UD, she has also been involved with ASPIRE (Academic Support Program Inspiring Renaissance Educators), Kappa Delta Pi (Education Honor Society) and Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. In her essay, Claire shared her personal experience of growing up in the U.S. as the child of Korean immigrants, and then having to move with her family to Korea in 10th grade and the challenges of acclimating and completing high school there. The language and cultural barriers she experienced, combined with the similarities and differences she identified between the Korean and American educational systems, inspired her to transfer to UD and pursue a career in education, with a goal to serve as a role model and advocate for minority students. I have no doubt that Claire will achieve this, as one of her recommenders stated “she has the drive, the skills, the intellect, and the positive personality to become a successful teacher.”

Rosetta Davis, Cairn University – Pursuing BS in Elementary/Middle-Level Education (4-8) and Bible with a Minor in TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages), Class of 2019Rosetta has a cumulative GPA of 3.97. In 2009, Rosetta graduated from Community College of Philadelphia with an Associate’s degree in Elementary Education. While at CCP and in the years prior to enrolling at Cairn, Rosetta worked full-time as a School Coordinator for the Philadelphia Anti-Drug/Anti-Violence Network. In her time at Cairn, she has been a Tutor with the Academic Resource Center, a Teacher Assistant with Northeastern Community Church – Northeastern Grow Program, and has observed and student taught in multiple schools. Rosetta is a member of Alpha Chi Epsilon (Teacher Education Club) at Cairn and was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at CCP.  In her essay, Claire talked about her experience working with inner-city middle and high school students through the GIFT program (Growing in Female Traditions) and how she became aware of the impact that building relationships with students has on their learning and growth. She adopted the motto “building relationships to build character” and is committed to creating a nurturing learning environment that holistically educates. Rosetta’s recommenders described her using terms such as inspiring, diligent, committed, honest, inquiring, engaged, creative, articulate, humble and ambitious. She was referred to as a “light to people around her” and I’m sure that light will shine on the future students she teaches, as well.

Kurt Deixler, University of Pennsylvania – Pursuing MSEd in Urban Education, Concentration in Social Studies, Class of 2019
Kurt is enrolled in the Urban Teacher Residency Program at the University of Pennsylvania, a unique program that is enables Teach for America participants to work full-time as teachers while completing a graduate degree and teaching certification in two years. As an undergrad, he studied Chemistry at the University of Delaware, where he was on the Dean’s & President’s List every semester and graduated summa cum laude with a GPA of 3.92 in 2016. During college, he did an extensive amount of research in the field of nanotechnology, including electrospinning nanofibers. You might ask why he didn’t then pursue a career in scientific research. Well, as Kurt explained in his essay, he had always wanted to be a teacher. He said that as a kid he loved school so much that he wanted to stay there forever. However, when transitioning to college, he had doubts, and based on his love of chemistry in high school, chose that as his major. Although he excelled at it and enjoyed it, as he was approaching graduation, he felt unsure about what career path to pursue, as he still felt drawn towards teaching. While trying to decide between teaching or med school, he applied and was accepted into the City Year program, in which he served for one year as a Math tutor at an inner city school. That experience served as the deciding factor for Kurt that he does indeed belong in the classroom, so he then applied to Teach for America and in addition to his graduate studies, he has also served as the 7th & 8th grade science teacher at Alliance for Progress Charter School, Philadelphia since September. Kurt was enthusiastically endorsed for this scholarship by both of his recommenders, with one stating that “His passion for increasing equity and quality in education is unwavering. He embodies the passion, self-awareness and commitment we hope to see in all educators entering the field.”

Shane Fitzgerald, St. Joseph’s University – Pursuing MS in Secondary Education (7-12), Concentration in Biology, Class of 2019
Shane has a GPA of 4.0. He did his undergraduate studies at Rider University, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Biology in 2013. While at Rider, he was a neuroscience research assistant and a member of the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society and the Science Learning Community. He was also involved in some teaching-related activities, including serving as a STEM mentor to freshmen as well as a Group Leader/Tutor with an elementary after school program. In his senior year, Shane attended the Society of Neuroscience conference in New Orleans, where he presented a poster presentation of his undergraduate research on the effects of age and chemotherapy on hippocampal neurogenesis.  After graduation, Shane pursued a career in science, working for two years as a Research Technician at the Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research and then taking his current position as a Lab Manager and Research Technician at CHOP in 2015. Shane’s research has been published in scientific journals, including Experimental Neurology and PLOS One, a publication of the Public Library of Science. In 2017, Shane decided to combine his passion for science with his interest in teaching and enrolled in the graduate program at St. Joe’s. In his essay, Shane shared that he is not only a first-generation college student but also a first generation American, as his parents had immigrated to the U.S. from Ireland. He spoke very highly of his high school biology teacher, as she provided him with invaluable guidance and support and served as the role model for the kind of teacher he aspires to be: one who creates a sense of community and belonging both inside and outside the classroom. His recommendations glowed in their support of Shane’s application, referring to him as “an exceptional, genuine, honest, compassionate human being” and a “a fine citizen of the world.”

Danielle Viverito, University of Delaware – Pursuing MEd in Secondary Special Education, Class of 2019
Danielle is enrolled in a joint bachelor’s/master’s 5 year program at the University of Delaware. She graduated in May 2018  with a Bachelor of Science in Earth Science Education with a Minor in Dance, and is continuing on to complete her master’s degree in May 2019. On campus, Danielle is a member of the student organization Secondary Educators Of Tomorrow and is the Chapter Assessment Program Chair and Standards Leader for Alpha Sigma Alpha Sorority. She has done pre-student teaching and student teaching in science classrooms at both middle and high schools and has already taken and passed the Praxis I and Praxis II (Earth & Space Science Content) Exams. Danielle stated in her essay that she has always wanted to be a teacher, even having written that goal in her 3rd grade yearbook. She also shared the story of her social studies teacher her sophomore year in high school who inspired her via his daily message to the entire class of “Knowledge is power!” as well as encouraged her after an oral presentation to consider pursuing a teaching career because he observed that she had a natural gift to teach. Her recommenders also identified her natural teaching ability, with one stating that “Danielle has a presence, and projects an air of quiet authority and expertise in the classroom.”  The other recommender, her cooperating teacher for student teaching, said that “her passion for her students and teaching science lights up the room” and I have no doubt that she will continue to do so throughout her future teaching career.

Matthew Weaver, LaSalle University – MA in Secondary Education, Concentration in Social Studies, Class of 2019
Matthew previously received a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 2016. In his essay, Matthew talked about his most influential role model, his mother, who herself is a teacher. He was inspired by the stories she shared with him throughout his childhood and knew that he, too, wanted to be a teacher. After graduating from Penn, Matthew was offered an opportunity to be a Junior Fellow at Winchester College, a boarding school in the U.K. and he went abroad to teach for a year. This experience solidified his desire to pursue a career in education, and he returned last summer to enroll in the graduate program at La Salle. In addition to teaching, Matthew is also an avid rowing coach, having coached students while at Winchester, serving as the head coach for the Crescent Boat Club junior rowing team for the past five years, as well as a Graduate Assistant Rowing Coach for both the men’s & women’s rowing teams at La Salle. One of his recommenders taught a practicum course he was enrolled in last summer in which he co-taught in an enrichment program at Hatboro-Horsham High School The recommender stated that “Matthew performed exceptionally; his lessons were well-planned, supplemental materials carefully crafted, and his interactions with the students were incredibly effective and positive. It was evident that Matthew is ready for the classroom!” and I’m sure he will prove this to be true.

Scholarship Recipients

2017 Recipients

Sabrina Blakley, St. Joseph’s University, Pursuing Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education (Pre-K-4) & Special Education (K-8), Class of 2018
Sabrina’s overall GPA is 3.96 and she has been on the Dean’s List every semester. Sabrina is the Vice President of Alpha Sigma Nu (Jesuit Honor Society), Re-Founding Member of the Order of Omega Greek Leadership Society, full member of Alpha Phi Fraternity, and serves as a Student Representative on the University’s Suicide Prevention Team. During her educational studies, Sabrina has had the chance to observe and assist in classrooms at a variety of schools, including Visitation B.V.M. School, Global Leadership Academy Charter School, The Gesu School, and most recently the Easter Seals Early Intervention Center and Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School. Last fall, she completed an internship with Turning Points For Children, Social Service Agency, and she has also worked as a Nanny for the past two years. Sabrina’s recommenders referred to her as a an “outstanding student” with an impressive commitment to service, justice and personal integrity. In her essay, Sabrina stated that her original intention was only to become an elementary teacher. However, her recent experience observing an early intervention classroom has inspired her to be a special education teacher. Specifically, in her essay she shared the powerful story of a particularly touching experience with a boy in that class which brought our committee members to tears and gave us no doubt that she will make an excellent teacher.

Regina Kleiner,West Chester University, Pursuing Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Certification program in Chemistry Education, Class of 2018
Regina previously received her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in 2009, also from West Chester, followed by a Master of Science in Chemistry in 2014 from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Regina has had a successful career as a chemist, working locally for Environmental Standards Inc. for a year after her undergraduate studies, followed by positions in New Mexico with Terranear PMC and Sandia National Laboratories, with all of her positions involved in the field of environmental waste. In her essay, Regina stated that, in spite of her successful career, she felt that something was missing. While enrolled in graduate school, she made a profound discovery: through her work as a teaching assistant, she found her true calling at the blackboard. Regina realized that the solitary hours spent in the lab were not fulfilling, and that she wanted to share her excitement for chemistry with others. With this new goal, Regina then enrolled in the certification program at West Chester, while returning to a local Project Chemist position with Terranear PMC. She is currently a multi-year recipient of the American Chemical Society – Hach Second Career Teacher Scholarship, which is awarded to professionals in the chemistry field pursuing new careers as high school chemistry teachers. In addition to Chemistry certification, Regina also intends to pursue additional certifications in Physics, Biology and General Science and hopes to inspire students to enter the STEM fields and strive to learn more about the world around them. Her recommenders stated that she is a “standout” with a strong work ethic and creative and imaginative teaching style whose “chances of success in teaching and public education service are as close to 100% as can be!”

Amanda Kloth,  Cairn University, Pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Secondary English Education with Minors in English, History and Bible, Plus TESOL Certification (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), Class of 2018
Amanda has an impressive cumulative GPA of 3.99!  She was also the Salutatorian of her high school class, ranked #2 out of 944 students. On campus at Cairn, Amanda is the President & Event Coordinator for the Alpha Chi Epsilon Teacher Education Club as well as a Writing Lab Mentor. In February of 2016, she had the opportunity to attend the SHARE Education Conference in Siófok (SHEE-o-foke), Hungary, which is geared toward American families working and living abroad. During the conference, Amanda served as a Teacher’s Assistant for 6th & 7th graders, focusing lessons on the conference’s theme of Inventions. In her essay, Amanda stated that her experience teaching in Hungary gave her concrete evidence of the rewards of a teaching career, and it motivated her to seek out additional overseas teaching opportunities. This summer, she will be traveling to China, teaching English to middle school and high school students. Amanda’s recommenders stated that she is conscientious and creative, organized and personable, and a  “natural” teacher who would be an asset to any school setting.

Ian Roth,Eastern University, Pursuing Bachelor of Science in Middle Level Education, with concentrations in Social Studies and Mathematics and a minor in Music, Class of 2018
Ian’s cumulative GPA is 3.9722. Ian is a recipient of the Leadership Fellows Scholarship and has been inducted into Kappa Delta Pi,  International Honor Society in Education.  Ian is an active athlete, playing on Eastern’s Division III Baseball team, serving as a youth sports coach, and teaching baseball lessons and clinics at Grand Slam USA. He is a very involved campus leader, evidenced through his roles as a Resident Assistant and Teaching Assistant and his involvement in various committees, including the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and College of Education Dean’s Search Committee. In addition to his academics, athletics and leadership, Ian also takes weekly vocal lessons and is a member of the University Choir. In his essay, Ian shared a personal story about a specific moment in 2nd grade when he was encouraged and inspired by his teacher, how years later he then shared the story of that moment as a speaker at his high school graduation, and how that teacher had watched his speech online and then reached out to thank him for honoring her in such a way and state that his speech had “made her career” – yes, another tear-jerker for the scholarship committee! Ian’s recommenders highlighted his strong work ethic, outgoing personality, varied talents, keen perception, self-motivation, strong communication skills and knowledge of technology, and gave him enthusiastic endorsements for this scholarship.

Kara Travis, Ursinus College, Pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English with PA Certification in English (Grades 7-12) with minors in French and Creative Writing, Class of 2018
Kara has a cumulative GPA of 3.9.  For the past two years, Kara has been a Common Intellectual Experience Fellow at Ursinus, serving as a peer leader for first-year students enrolled in this required course. She holds the role of Secretary in the Phi Upsilon Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the international undergraduate English Honor Society, has held various roles with The Lantern (Ursinus’ literary magazine), including Bio Editor, Copy Editor, Reader and Writer, and is a member of the Ursinus Escape Velocity Dance Troupe. According to her essay, Kara’s interest in teaching began at the age of 12 when she volunteered to help out in dance classes on weekends at her local dance studio. She continued throughout high school, gaining more experience, was eventually offered a job as a dance instructor, and has now been teaching at the studio for 3 years. Kara sees a parallel between the rewards she gets from teaching dance and the rewards she anticipates she will have when eventually teaching English. She strives to “be a positive force in students’ lives by leading them toward collaboration rather than conflict.” Kara was described in her recommendations as a “person of character whose positive attitude energizes and inspires those around her,” someone who “comes across as humble, respectful, mature, and always kind” and is ultimately “the sort of individual our schools need as teachers.”

Scholarship Recipients

2016 Recipients

Meghan Cullinan, Villanova University, Pursuing Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Secondary Education, Class of 2017
Meghan has a cumulative GPA of 3.73. Meghan is a member of Kappa Delta Pi: International Honor Society in Education and Pi Mu Epsilon: National Mathematics Honor Society, and she has been awarded the Ron Cruse International Fellowship for involvement in non-traditional global study and experience by teaching English at the Sukma Bangsa School in Indonesia. Last October, Meghan went to the Dominican Republic to teach English to public school students. She has also been a Service Tutor in Philadelphia and Norristown for three years, has held leadership roles in the Villanova Panhellenic Council and Chi Omega Sorority, and has participated in Habitat for Humanity service break trips to Mississippi and New Mexico. Two summers ago, Meghan went to London where she had a student teaching internship at a school for high need students. Last summer, she worked for Success Academy Charter Schools in New York City as part of a team developing middle school math curriculum and assessment materials, and she will be returning there this summer after completing her fellowship in Indonesia. In her essay, Meghan stated that her goal as an educator is to spread a culture of caring and active learning so that all students have the opportunity to build a personal connection with learning. She has a strong desire to understand educational inequity on an international level, and from a global development perspective, she believes education is a fundamental component of community advancement. Meghan had glowing recommendations, with one of them stating that “She will represent the goals of the scholarship beautifully and will be a wonderful ambassador for others.”

Jennifer O’Neill, West Chester University, Bachelor of Science in Early Grades Preparation PK-4 with minors in Elementary Mathematics and Literacy, Class of 2017
Jennifer has an impressive GPA of 4.0! She is an active member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Alpha Upsilon Alpha – International Literacy Association, and Student PSEA, of which she was previously the chair of the West Chester chapter. She has had a variety of paid and volunteer experiences working with young children as a camp counselor, teacher’s assistant and assistant dance teacher, and served as a West Chester University Ambassador tour guide for two years. In her essay, Jennifer stated that she believes children are capable of anything if they are given the skills and the encouragement to succeed, and that it is her responsibility as a future teacher to prepare children to achieve greatness in their lives. One of Jennifer’s recommenders stated, “With her mature demeanor, intelligence, and natural enthusiasm I believe that Ms. Jennifer O’Neill will be an exceptional representative of your organization’s mission and goals. I support this wonderful recognition for a wonderful student with exceptional potential to grow and learn as a teaching professional.”

Emma Ryan, St. Joseph’s University , Bachelor of Liberal Studies, Elementary Education and Special Education with a minor in Autism Studies, Class of 2017
Emma’s GPA is 3.65. She studied abroad last fall at the Madrid Campus of Saint Louis University. She is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the Council for Exceptional Children. As an incoming freshman, Emma was selected to be an Apprentice with the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support at St. Joe’s, and she has continued her involvement as a Kinney Scholar during her sophomore and junior years, and an Assistant Lead Scholar last summer with their camp program. She is also an ASPIRE Peer mentor, providing support to a fellow student who is diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Emma’s involvement in community service is extensive and includes the Hand in Hand Club, Back on My Feet, Relay for Life, Appalachian Experience (alternative Spring Break service trips), and many more. Emma’s scholarship essay was very creative and extremely engaging to read, as it was in the format of a letter written to Mr. Smith, her former high school Math teacher. In this letter, she stated how he refused to give up, and because of his faith in her, she was able to believe in herself. Emma’s commitment to being an educator is evidenced in her recommendations, as one of them stated that she “will make an extraordinary teacher; any classroom would be lucky to have her genuine care and perseverance to guide them.”

Julien Tomasello, The University of the Arts, Master of Arts in Teaching in Visual Arts, Class of 2017
Julien’s current GPA is 3.918. He previously completed an MFA in Studio Art in 1999 with a concentration in Sculpture/Mixed Media via a partnership program between Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and did his undergraduate studies at Monmouth University, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Art and Art History. Julian is a career changer, having had extensive work experience in the art and publishing fields. He was the Gallery Director at Bernard Toale Gallery in Boston for three years, and has been photo editor for multiple magazines including OUT, Smart Luxury Travel, Hemispheres & GO (in-flight media), Philadelphia Magazine, and Philadelphia Wedding. Julien was the Picture Editor for the 2014 book “PANTONE on Fashion: A Century of Color in Design” which reached #13 on the New York Times best sellers list, the Co-Author/Picture Editor of the book “ART + FASHION”, and most recently Picture Editor for “WHY BOYS NEED PARENTS” which was just released in March 2016. With all of these impressive accomplishments, Julien felt a calling to teach art, and enrolled at UArts in 2015. During the fall semester, Julien was a Teaching Assistant for middle school students enrolled in a 3D Art & Design class at the UArts Saturday Arts Lab, and he has become a member of both the National Art Education Association and the PA Art Education Association. Julien referenced Harry Potter in his essay, which he titled The Magical Classroom, by stating that teachers can become real-life Dumbledores and McGonagalls – admired mentors who shape facts and ways of thinking and seeing into tools of great power and possibility. One of his recommenders stated “Julien left the publishing field to become a “best practices” art educator–to pass on his love and understanding of art to others” and Julien himself sums it up nicely in his essay in saying that becoming a certified K-12 art educator is a path he views as the perfect culmination of his educational and professional experiences.

Michael Youngkin, Rutgers University-Camden, Post-baccalaureate Teacher Certification in Secondary English, 2017 
Michael graduated summa cum laude in 2012 from Rowan University with a Bachelor of Arts in Writing Arts. Michael is another career changer. After his college graduation, he was hired by the NJ Courier-Post as a Digital Media Producer, where he’d be working in a real newsroom with actual journalists, a dream come true. However, in spite of earning a Best of Gannett (company-wide) award for short form writing on Twitter, he felt unfulfilled in his role and left to seek more meaningful work. Michael was drawn to teaching-related jobs: substitute teacher in Mt. Laurel School District, tutor with The Tutoring Club, and his current role as an Instructional Aide at Haddon Heights High School. These experiences have affirmed his calling as a teacher, which he states in his essay actually began many years ago at Boy Scout camp, where he found himself teaching scout skills and then teaching others how to teach scout skills. This former Eagle Scout says that he plans to use his experiences in journalism and new media to create a classroom connected to the outside world and full of functional applications. One of his recommenders commented that “Michael is always willing to get to the heart of the matter and to support the student through the rigors of learning” and the other said that Michael “is a most deserving candidate for the Hannah Amgott Scholarship” and he was proud to recommend him to us.

Scholarship Recipients

2015 Recipients

Jacqlyn Gallagher, Gwynedd Mercy University, Pursuing Bachelor of Science with a double major in Early Childhood and Special Education, Class of 2016
Jacqlyn has a cumulative GPA of 3.93. Jacqui is the President of the Special Education Club, participated in the Griffin Student Leadership Institute Exceptional Leaders Program, was inducted into the Phi Alpha Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, an international honor society for education, and is a member of the Council for Exceptional Children, which awarded her the George O’Neill Memorial Scholarship in 2014. Jacqui was one of ten students chosen to travel to Ireland last summer to represent Gwynedd Mercy at the Conference for Young Mercy Leaders held in Dublin. Since 2012, she has participated in the Teacher Apprenticeship program, which has offered her an opportunity to experience not only public school elementary classrooms, but also a preschool and a private Catholic school. She currently works with children as both a nanny and an Assistant Teacher at a pre-school/child care facility. One of her recommendations described Jacqui as having a way of making each child in a large group feel like a unique individual, and as a gifted educator with an extremely promising future. In her essay, Jacqui stated that she has found truth in Nelson Mandela’s words asserting, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” and she looks forward to being the kind of teacher who teaches and inspires children to love learning.

Kathleen Johnson, Rutgers University, Enrolled in the Graduate Teacher Prep Program, Pursuing certification in Art K-12, P-3 and Special Education, Class of 2016
Kate has previously completed Teacher Prep studies at Moore College of Art, and graduated in 1990 from the University of the Arts with a BFA in Printmaking and a concentration in Art Education. Kate’s career path has included six years in the role of Director of the Young Children’s Center for the Arts in Philadelphia, which is a non-profit, arts-based preschool. She is currently an art teacher at Perkins Center for the Arts, a teacher at Little Friends Cooperative Nursery School, as well as Events Coordinator at the Riverton Free Library (all in NJ). One of her recommenders said that Kate is very caring, creative, and extremely positive in her interaction with both children and parents. In her essay, Kate stated that she realizes how important it is to not just have a “job”, but to be doing your life’s work. She can’t NOT teach. She longs to combine her love of young children, creative endeavors, and differentiated instruction in order to create a dynamic classroom that will inspire students and spark their love of learning for a lifetime

Kaitlyn Martin, Saint Joseph’s University, Pursuing Bachelor of Science with a double major in Early Childhood Education & Special Education, along with a minor in Faith-Justice Studies, Class of 2016
Kaitlyn has a GPA of 3.9. She is a member of Saint Joseph’s University’s prestigious Honors program, was the Secretary-Treasurer of the Student Union Board (the university’s programming board), the Vice-President of the Tau Omega chapter of Kappa Delta Pi (International Honor Society in Education), the Vice-President of the university chapter of PSEA (Pennsylvania State Education Association), and the vice-president of the Council for Exceptional Children. Last summer, Kaitlyn participated in St. Joe’s University Scholars research program, where she completed a study titled An Examination of Bullying Prevention Programs in High-Risk Schools and Supporting Future-Teachers in Today’s Classrooms. Her recommenders stated that there is no candidate who comes to mind better suited to the teacher-scholar model than Kaitlyn and that she is a “force to be reckoned with” with the ability to both collaborate and lead well. Kate stated in her essay that she wants to teach in an urban public school. It disturbs her that children’s education can be compromised and undervalued simply because they were born into certain socio-economic circumstances. As a teacher, she wants to inspire her students to follow their dreams no matter what burdens they may face.

Christina Slavin, West Chester University, Pursuing Bachelor of Science in Early Grades Preparation and Special Education, with a minor in Reading, Class of 2016
Christina has a 3.958 GPA and has been on the Dean’s list every semester. Cshe received the Terrie Ozelis Memorial Scholarship,which is awarded to someone who demonstrates potential to be an outstanding teacher in the field-based coursework at West Chester. Christina has worked as a Teacher’s Aide at a local pre-school for the past three years. She has served two terms as Treasurer of the West Chester chapter of Alpha Upsilon Alpha, the honor society of the International Reading Association, and has been elected future president for the upcoming academic year. She is also a member of Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education. Christina has also been involved with the Cap Creations program at West Chester, which uses plastic bottle caps to enhance children’s literacy skills. In her essay, Christina states that one of her major goals for her future classroom is to have her students become passionate about reading. She believes that every student can enjoy books if they find a type of genre or subject that they like. And to quote her recommendations: “Christina Slavin is a person of excellent character and strong personal decorum. Christina has the rare combination of qualities and talents that should ensure her success as a classroom teacher. She is the type of young woman whom I would, without hesitation, choose to teach my own children.”

Kristina Thomson, Eastern University, Pursuing Master of Education in Multicultural Education & Pre-K-4th Grade Certification, Class of 2016
Kristina graduated cum laude from Franklin & Marshall in May 2014 with Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art with a minor in Theatre. She was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society while at F&M. Kristina previously spent a semester as an art teacher’s assistant at a private K-12 school, as well as three years as an Admission Tour Guide at F&M. In June 2014, she was a Mission Trip Leader for a week-long program for 24 teens in Philadelphia. In her essay, Kristina states that both of her parents are teachers, and that she was born with the “teacher gene.” Her first teaching experience was at age 13 when she became an assistant teacher at her dance studio, where she still teaches today. Kristina pursued an undergraduate art degree because she wanted to explore her sense of creativity, knowing that it would eventually play a major role in her future teaching philosophy. Her recommenders commented that Kristina has an “above and beyond” attitude and that she truly wishes to make a difference in the lives of young children living in poverty. One referred to her as “continuously a smile and a positive force, teaching children with a contagious excitement and love.”