Ten Fresno Pacific University (FPU) teacher education students have been awarded $20,000 scholarships in a new state program.
Amy Friesen, MaLee Her, Brad and Angel Krause and Amy Penner-Burton, all of Fresno; Sarah Pullen of Clovis; Mary Bishop and Heather Rocha of Visalia; Rhyanna Rios of Mendota; and Jessica Uhl of Bakersfield are among 250 students statewide who received Governor's Teaching Fellowships.
The fellowship, part of California Governor Gray Davis' education program, awards $20,000 to full time students preparing to teach in low performance schools in California for four years. The fellowship was designed to help recipients pay for education and living expenses. Recipients must be enrolled in an accredited California college/university teacher education program. Next year as many as 1,000 fellowships will be awarded.
The program was unveiled in November of 2000, and little notice was given before applications were due, according to Linda Hoff, director of the FPU teacher education program, part of Fresno Pacific Graduate School. Hoff believes the university's practice of giving personalized attention played a significant role in alerting students. "A small university like FPU is able to help students turn their applications in," she said.
Students had only a few weeks to submit official transcripts, an enrollment verification, three letters of recommendation and the completed application. A telephone interview followed in late December. Winners were notified in early February.
Hoff was not surprised that so many fellowships were awarded to FPU, which has a total enrollment of about 1,800 students. "I expected it," she said. There is a need for highly qualified teachers in the classroom, according to Hoff, and many schools in the Valley have low test scores. "At FPU, we're doing a good job of helping students understand the dynamics of low income schools," she said.
FPU's cross-cultural language and academic development (CLAD) and bilingual cross-cultural language and academic development (BCLAD) programs are tools that teach graduate students about these dynamics, such as the affects of second-language issues and poverty on student performance. Hoff believes the honors these students earn illustrate the education all teacher education students receive. "This is a compliment to the CLAD program, teacher education and the university," she said.