SRU student trio awarded Marjorie Stephenson Scholarships

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Niyah Pope, a sophomore early childhood education major, works as a group assistant at the SRSGA Preschool and Child Care Center. She was one of three SRU students awarded a 2017 Marjorie Stephenson Scholarship, named for the late SRU professor and librarian.

May 5, 2017

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Marjorie Stephenson may be gone from Slippery Rock University, but the legacy of the former professor and librarian lives on through a scholarship named in her honor.

For more than 30 years, a select group of SRU students have been named as recipients of the Marjorie Stephenson Scholarship, organized by the University's Bailey Library, in honor of Stephenson, who spent 1971-78 at SRU.

Cristina Estevez

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Recipients of the 2017 Stephenson scholarships are Niyah Pope, a sophomore early childhood education major from Turtle Creek; Danielle McDermott, a junior creative writing major from Slippery Rock; and Cristina Estevez, a freshman biology and Spanish major from Strasburg.

Danielle McDermott

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"These are three amazing young ladies," said Judy Silva, assistant professor of library, who is a co-chair of the scholarship committee along with Allison Brungard, Bailey Library's STEM and electronic access librarian. "We look at their entire body of work, not just the essays. They are involved with campus activities and clubs and some are double majors. We say, 'You've done your part; you've earned this. Let us help you stay in college.'"

While obtaining the financial assistance to stay in college motivated Pope to apply for the scholarship, her career goals as an aspiring teacher and the intent of the scholarship provided greater inspiration.

"Being an African-American woman (the scholarship) means something special in my heart," Pope said. "It's very important to have African-American teachers, because for kids, besides their family, those are the first people that they encounter. It's very important for many more African-Americans to become teachers."

Pope's faculty mentors, Christine Walsh and Linda Zane, both associate professors of elementary education/early childhood, encouraged her to get involved in campus activities.

"Both of those women had a big influence on me becoming more active and engaged in my major," said Pope, who is a member of the Early Childhood Club at SRU; a group assistant at the SRU/Student Government Association Preschool and Child Care Center; and, beginning next semester, the vice president of the Black Action Society.

Originally a scholarship for African-American women majoring in library science, the Stephenson Scholarship is now awarded to any full-time undergraduate student. Female students that are underrepresented minorities in arts, humanities, social sciences and education majors receive the highest consideration.

To qualify for the endowed scholarship, awarded as partial or full for as much as $1,000 per recipient, applicants must have earned at least 30 semester hours at SRU and be enrolled full-time when holding the scholarship. They must also complete an essay explaining how their college education helps them pursue their career goals and submit letters of recommendation from two SRU faculty members, one of who has taught them in a class.

The Stephenson Scholarship committee, consisting of current and retired Bailey Library staff and other interdisciplinary faculty and staff, uses a rubric that takes into account financial need, academic performance and campus activities to select award recipients.

For more information about the Stephenson Scholarship, contact Brungard at: 724.738.2638 or allison.brungard@sru.edu.

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zackal | 724.738.4854 | justin.zackal@sru.edu