Fordham University Graduate School of Education: The Valerie A. Rowe Endowed Scholarship Fund Celebrates Three New Recipients

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Valerie A. Rowe Endowed Scholarship Fund Celebrates Three New Recipients

On October 1st, the Graduate School of Education and the Fordham Office of Development hosted a reception to celebrate three recipients of an endowed scholarship made possible by a generous donation from Dr. Valerie A. Rowe, an alumnae and former professor at GSE, with her husband, Jack Rowe (a professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and a former chairman and CEO of Aetna Inc.).

Rowe enjoyed a four-decade career as an educator that began near Rochester, New York, in the Rush-Henrietta Central School District, and ended at GSE, where she received her doctoral degree in 1996 and was a faculty member until 2010.  In 2010, she and her husband made a $530,000 gift to the University to establish an endowed scholarship at GSE. It is one of the largest gifts ever received by the school in its 95-year history.

The Valerie A. Rowe Endowed Scholarship Fund will support students in the Master of Science in Teaching (M.S.T.) program, which Rowe coordinated on Fordham’s Westchester campus. “As a faculty member, I knew we didn't have a big pool of scholarship money to attract the best students, and I wanted to help change that,” Rowe said. “I focused on M.S.T. students because they go through the program so quickly. They want to become teachers, and the majority of them have worked in other fields. It takes a lot of nerve to switch careers, so I want to make it easier for them to go through the program and make that transition.”

2012 Scholarship Recipients:
Jaime Velez, Childhood Special Education at Lincoln Center
Like a magnet being drawn with polar force to it epicenter, Jaime left his humble beginnings of Jersey City and traveled through Hoboken, across the Hudson River, through the Northern Boroughs of NYC to finally reside in his home of nearly 20 years, Manhattan. Jaime’s journey led him through life lessons of following one’s own heart rather than a directed path, when he decided against medical school following his graduation with a pre-med degree. He felt his spirit drawn to touching others with his gifts. So he proceeded on that path, first on stage, then in front of a camera, and finally with a pen. However, it wasn't until the birth of his third child that Jaime finally realized that his gift was meant to be shared with children. Of late, he is consumed with that task day and night; homeschooling preschoolers, tutoring elementary students, gently guiding his eldest daughter, studying for and completing his teacher certifications, and by night, attending classes here…where his heart led him and his future is being created.

Gloria Alicea Ortiz, Childhood Education at Westchester
Gloria Alicea Ortiz entered Fordham University as an undergraduate after studying 2 years at the University of Puerto Rico in San Juan. She graduated from the Rose Hill campus in May 2012 with a BA in Sociology and elected to continue her studies in the MST Childhood Program (5 year track) at the Westchester campus. Gloria is fluent in both English and Spanish. In her personal statement, Gloria said, “I graduated with honors from high school where all my classes were taught in my native language of Spanish. Currently, I have conquered an even bigger challenge, studying in English, which is my second language, and still finding a place on the dean’s honor list at Fordham University.” Gloria certainly did well, graduating magna cum laude with a 3.7 overall GPA.

This fall, Gloria is student teaching in a 3rd grade classroom at Siwanoy Elementary School in Pelham.  Concerning her aspirations to be a teacher, Gloria said, “The challenge of successfully teaching children from vastly different backgrounds is something that has always intrigued me…I have high expectations for myself as well as my future, and I would like to instill that sense of self-empowerment to every child that I come into contact with.”

Sarah Rosati, Childhood Special Education
The following is a reflection written by Dr. Caballero, Sarah’s advisor:

"Sarah Rosati never ceases to amaze me. I've known Sarah since she began the 5-Year Teacher Education Track as a sophomore. She graduated in May as a Spanish Language and Literature major with a Psychology minor and a 3.964 overall GPA. She graduated 4th in her class of 715 graduates. I have seen her develop into one of our most dedicated education students, usually going beyond what is expected. As an undergraduate, she mentored young girls in the Bronx, tutored 2nd grade Arabic speaking students in English as a second language. This year, Sarah began her student teaching in a 2nd grade classroom at PS 163 in Manhattan. Prior to her placement there, Sarah wrote me to request being placed at that particular school - not because it was easier for her to get to, but because she had done extensive research about this particular urban school and felt that her skills would best serve the students there. Little did Sarah know that this was the school I was going to place her in because I, too, felt that she had a lot to offer this particular student community and in turn, those students would give Sarah a powerful experience.

One of her professors has said that Sarah has '...a particular fire in her spirit that makes her an advocate for children, that makes her aware of the realities her students live, and that helps her to think and practice beyond the most common trappings of educational practice.' This is such a powerful statement about one of our students and I am not surprised that it is a statement about Sarah.
Since Sarah is a student in our Childhood Special Education program, next semester she will complete her student teaching in a special education classroom. She is also considering obtaining a Bilingual Education extension. In her personal statement, Sarah said she wanted to create an educational environment that is focused, inspiring, and rewarding for the students and herself. I truly believe Sarah will create this and more for the children she serves because that is the spirit she embodies."

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