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English scholars program supports future educational leaders

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Donors Mary F. English ’68 and Robert J. English ’66, MBA ’67, founded The Mary F. English Technology Award in 2001. This scholarship helps College of Education (COE) students explore the development of technology in the classroom. Throughout the years, this award has evolved to assist scholars as they navigate through Illinois State and become skilled, innovative educators. Not only do they receive a laptop for their academic and personal use, but they also receive one-on-one mentorship from members of the campus community and attend monthly seminars and trainings focused on the use of technology as a learning and information tool.

Scholars have benefited from this community-building experience on multiple levels. It has provided them with guidance and professional support they otherwise would not have received. It has also allowed the scholars with opportunities to bridge their many interests in technology. They also have developed as a cohort of future educators, collaborating and developing a sense of togetherness as they navigate their respective paths to graduation.

Mentoring, both through faculty members and other student leaders, allows for personal support. They are able to gain an immediate support system at a time when they are brand new to Illinois State. These mentors help the scholars learn about campus resources, how to be successful as students and future leaders. Most importantly, the scholars and their mentors become friends who share different parts of a journey together. Faculty mentors empower scholars to become effective learners, agents of their own change, and help cultivate skills and techniques necessary to become the kind of educators they want to be.

Every semester, the English scholars program invites faculty members to speak to the new Redbirds on a variety of topics, including career building, lesson planning, internship/professional development, resume building, and peer-to-professional networking. Together, we also tackle tough conversations about race, diversity inclusion, time-management, and student teaching. We also prioritize organizing social events like game night and potlucks. These activities allow the scholars to de-stress, interact with their peers, and makes everyone in the group more comfortable with one another.

The Mary F. English Technology Award has absolutely enhanced the college experience for the scholars. As a result of the Englishes’ investment in Redbirds, these students have gained more knowledge, skills, and experience with the use of technology in the classroom, familiarity with the resources the University provides. Most importantly, they’ve become a community of learners eagerly waiting to make a difference in the lives of their students and communities.

If you are interested in applying for 2019–2020 Mary F. English Technology Award or more information about the program, please contact Betty Hailu.

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