Candidate Scholarships

Location: William Penn Inn, Gwynedd, PA
Date: May 14, 2013
Presenter: Elisa Seeherman, Director of Career Services, University of the Arts
Committee Members: Nancy Dachille, Director of Career Development, Chestnut Hill College & Carol Dougherty, Director of Career Development, Neumann University

This is the eleventh year that the Delaware Valley Education Consortium is awarding scholarships to aspiring teacher candidates from our member institutions. In 2003, a committee was established to develop the guidelines and procedures for awarding scholarships to education students at our member institutions. The committee was chaired by Hannah Amgott of Widener University. When Hannah passed away in 2005, the membership of DVEC voted unanimously to name the scholarship in her memory, and the DVEC continues Hannah’s legacy in selecting qualified and deserving future educators to receive scholarships.

This year, there were 57 applications submitted (the most in the history of the scholarship), and we are happy to be able to award five $1500 scholarships. The scholarship applications were judged on merit, defined as strong academic record, excellent written communication skills, and genuine interest in and commitment to the field of teaching.

2013 Hannah Amgott Memorial Scholarship Recipients

Rachel Dorfman is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Education with K-12 Certification, with a minor in Political Science. She is an honors student with a major GPA of 4.0 and overall GPA of 3.973. Rachel has studied abroad twice: in Buenos Aires, Argentina as well as Granada, Spain, and has served as a Study Abroad Ambassador for the University of Delaware, sharing information about the program with her fellow students. Rachel has tutored both middle and high school students in a variety of subjects through the AVID program, and has also taught Spanish to elementary students in an after-school program. She currently tutors Spanish-speaking adults via Delaware’s Latin American Tutoring Program and is an ELI (English Language Institute) Language Partner, meeting weekly with Spanish-speaking international students for conversational practice. In her essay, Rachel states that she strives “to bring as much joy, passion, excitement, involvement, and interaction to the learning process that [her] own remarkable educators brought to [her own] individual high school experience.” More specifically, as a future high school Spanish teacher, she desires “to infuse unprecedented levels of energy and enthusiasm for the Spanish language and culture in each and every one of [her] classes.” Rachel’s references stated that she “embodies the modern educator: knowledgeable, inquisitive, responsible, enthusiastic and caring” and that she “exhibits the range of qualities which indicate the promise of future success as a professional educator.”

Lynsey Graeff will complete a Master of Education in Urban Education at the University of Pennsylvania in May 2014. She graduated from Temple University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in American Studies. This past year, Lynsey has been working as a 9th Grade Learning Support Teacher with the KIPP DuBois Collegiate Academy in Philadelphia. She has taken on various leadership roles over the years, including being a Mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters, an Apprentice Cell Leader with Circle of Hope, as well as a Missionary in Kenya. Lynsey was commended in her recommendation letters as someone with the “ability and passion to see an opportunity for improvement, analyze it, and work with diligence toward a solution” as well as a “natural compassion for high-needs students, dedication, commitment and ability.” In her essay, Lynsey admits that she did not originally intend to pursue a teaching career. She was going to “become a diplomat, missionary, Peace Corps member, non-profit humanitarian” with a goal to “fix the brokenness [she] saw in distant lands.” Then she moved to Philadelphia and “saw glimpses of the carefully camouflaged brokenness that existed on the borders of the areas [she] travelled” and she realized that “educating young people and changing the world were no longer mutually exclusive concepts.” Lynsey spoke in her essay of a particular student for whom she has provided learning support this year, a student who has made Lynsey even more aware of why she wants to teach, which is to “harness the energy, passion, talent, and beauty of students.” I must also mention that Lynsey is the first Penn student to be awarded this scholarship!

Cheryl Heatwole Shenk is a graduate student at Chestnut Hill College, pursuing a Master of Education in Early Childhood Education and AMS Early Childhood Montessori Certification, maintaining a 4.0 GPA. She previously received a Bachelor of Arts with Honors from Eastern Mennonite University in Environmental Science with minors in Chemistry, Mathematics and Socio-economic development. Since September, Cheryl has been putting her education into practice through establishing a Montessori-based in-home preschool where she has been teaching five children. She is also a Board Member of the Center for Environment Transformation in Camden, NJ which makes challenged communities into greener, more environmentally friendly places to live. In one of her recommendation letters, Cheryl is referred to as “a motivated and thoughtful young woman who is really intent on making a difference in her community and the lives of children and their families.” In her essay, Cheryl stated that six years ago, she could not see herself becoming a classroom teacher. However, when the neighborhood school in Camden asked her to be a teacher’s aide in their second grade classroom, she said yes, and this experience gave her the opportunity to “witness the critical, formative role education plays in the lives of children” which has enabled this vocational path to grow “into a tangible and realistic vision” for her. Upon her graduation in May 2014, Cheryl plans to open a Montessori primary program as part of the K-8 school in her neighborhood.

Jenna Knaster will graduate in May 2014 from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Music in Instrumental Music Education with a minor in Jazz Studies. She has a GPA of 3.79 and is in the Honors program. Jenna’s teaching experience has included a variety of practicums, teaching elementary and middle school band and music. She is currently a Teacher’s Assistant for a toddlers’ music class with the University of Delaware’s Community Music School, a Teaching Artist leading brass and woodwinds at a middle school, as well as a private instructor in both flute and piano. Jenna is also an Undergraduate Research Arts & Sciences Scholar. In this role, she has researched education policy and music education policy, created and disseminated a national survey for undergraduate music education majors titled “Staying in Tune with Music Education Policy” and presented her findings at the 2013 National Association for Music Education (NAfME) Eastern Division Conference. She previously co-led the service program Project MUSIC, expanding community partnerships with a public elementary and middle school. Jenna is a member of the College Music Society, National Association for Music Education, Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity, and Jazz Educators and Performers Association. She performs in multiple ensembles at the University of Delaware, is an organist/pianist/flutist at three churches, and frequently takes on roles as a pit orchestra musician for theater performances. In her essay, Jenna expressed that her “main goal as a music educator is to incite a passion for music within every student.” Jenna’s recommendations were stellar, with one of them stating that she “can think of no other student who better exemplifies the characteristics and qualities that the Hannah Amgott Memorial Scholarship seeks to recognize. Jenna’s passion for music, together with her demonstrated excellence in the academic classroom, in graduate level research, in the elementary & middle school classroom as a pre-service teacher, and in the concert hall, make her truly one-of-a-kind.”

Steven Lee attends Villanova University and will receive a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education with a Citizenship Emphasis, Political Science and Honors in May 2014. He has minors in Psychology, History and Business and his cumulative GPA is 3.76. He is an Honors Ambassador, an Honors Peer Advisor, Writing and Statistics Tutor, Member of Phi Sigma Pi National Honors Fraternity, Co-Founder of the BRIDGE Society (Building Relationships, Inspire Development, and Gain Expertise), as well as Coxswain for the Villanova Men’s Rowing Team. He is also an annual participant in Relay for Life, walking with fellow cancer survivors and supporters. Steven is described by his references as demonstrating “exemplary character, strong motivation, and personal integrity” and as someone who “cares deeply about working with students” and “recognizes the importance of the role of an educator.” It is clear in his essay that Steven did his homework in learning about our scholarship as he stated that “Hannah Amgott serves as a wonderful example of an educator who has come to influence me. Although she lost her battle with cancer in 2005, she left a legacy to encourage the development of our future educators. As a cancer survivor [Steven] feels as if [he] understands that each life has worth, and that making the most of your own life is of vital importance. As Hannah Amgott inspires [him], [he] hopes to inspire [his] own students to achieve their goals and dreams, as well as to live each day to its fullest.”