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Teachers by day, students by night

Janet Kiplinger Ciccone
September 25, 2017

Scholarship winners study to prepare children for kindergarten

A second cohort of early childhood teachers from the Columbus area has been awarded scholarships to earn bachelor’s degrees through EHE’s Early Childhood Education Professional Preparation Pipeline program.

The 16 teachers, like the first cohort awarded last year, care deeply for children from birth to 5 years of age. They want to enhance their educational skills, yet they lacked the resources to further their education.

Having already earned their associate’s degrees, the teachers received full-tuition scholarships and began classes this fall. The cost to them is their time, interest and effort.

A first-of-its-kind program

Launched by Ohio State President Michael V. Drake and EHE Dean Cheryl Achterberg in 2016, the program partners with the city of Columbus, Columbus State Community College and Action for Children.

The goal is to improve the quality of Columbus’ early childhood educators, and thus impact the development of young children with a goal of preparing them to succeed in school.

Laurie Katz, professor of teaching and learning, has been leading the Early Childhood Education Professional Pipeline program.

“The program supports students who have limited financial resources and have been working full-time jobs in early children education in addition to fulfilling their family and community obligations,” she said.

“The first cohort of 13 members is progressing well toward their bachelors’ degrees. This year, the program also added a small number of students with a similar background to pursue a pre-K to third-grade licensure program.”

Teachers with a passion for learning

Alice Williams, one of the new scholarship recipients, teaches at Columbus Urban League Southside Head Start Academy and recently received Action for Children’s first Educator of the Year Award.

Raised in a well-read family of 11, her passion is for children to have what she had — a love of reading and learning. That’s why she continues to love teaching after 46 years.

“I am determined to look beyond what I see on the outside of a child,” she said of her work, “so that I see the potential that lies within.”

“My walk, my talk and my actions are the teaching tools that leave the most memorable impact on children’s lives,” she said. “Little eyes are watching me, and those eyes say, ‘I am learning from your whole being.’”

She expects the bachelor’s degree courses to expand her ability to inspire children.

“As teachers, we have to supply children with the tools to push past situations and circumstances. We must take time to prepare ourselves for the journey of imparting knowledge to them.”

students and faculty with the Pipeline Scholarship program
Back row L-R: Laurie Katz, Bryan Warnick, Haley Maynard, Melissa Gass, Cindy Molnar, Keri Hill, Donna Jacoby, Danielle Colvin, Janie Serna, Lena Palmer, Marilyn Walbom, Alice Williams, Christopher Faltis, Ruth Lowery. Seated L-R: Jessica Huebner, Lian Dennis, Karen Carter. Not pictured: Mona Dixon, Elisabeth Lawson, Latoya Parish

Launch event builds excitement

The scholarship recipients attended a program launch in August on the Ohio State Columbus campus.

They were welcomed by Katz and Bryan Warnick, associate dean of academic affairs, who helped establish the program, as well as Christopher Faltis and Ruth Lowery, chair and assistant chair respectively of the Department of Teaching and Learning, which houses the program.

They were also greeted by pipeline staff members Deb Zurmehly, Michele Sanderson, Amy Kurz and Trish Ritter.

“We appreciate the dedication of the scholarship recipients to advancing their expertise,” Warnick said, “and to closing the gap in children’s readiness for school.”

To support the Early Childhood Education Professional Preparation Pipeline Scholarship, please visit the program's giving page


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