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Wachovia Creates Fund to Assist Student Teachers at Penn State Berks

The company is creating a $50,000 scholarship fund to assist student teachers in the Reading School District.

By Laurie Yarger (March 2007)

READING, Pa. – Wachovia has given a boost to Penn State Berks’ new four-year program in Elementary and Kindergarten Education. The company is creating a $50,000 scholarship fund to assist student teachers in the Reading School District.

 

Wachovia_check_small.jpgFrom left to right: Kathleen Arnold Smarilli, president of Wachovia's central Pennsylvania region; Evan Hand, financial specialist leader; Thomas Chapman, Reading School District superintendent; Kimberly Beall, senior in Elementary Education at Penn State Berks and current Wachovia Urban Education Scholar; David Bender, coordinator of the Elementary and Kindergarten Education degree program and associate professor of educational psychology; and Susan Phillips Speece, Penn State Berks Chancellor.

 

Through the new Wachovia Urban Education Scholars program at Penn State Berks, ten awards averaging $1,000 each are expected to be made annually over five years.

"Wachovia's gift enhances our unique partnership with the Reading School District that aims to give students majoring in education a four-year exposure to an urban education experience," said Susan Phillips Speece, chancellor. "Prior to entering the classroom in their fourth year as student teachers, our students will have gained additional experience in their first three years by serving as tutors and classroom observers in the Reading schools."

To be eligible to become Wachovia Scholars, student teachers must also meet academic and financial need requirements.

"Because of the amount of time student teachers must devote to course preparation and actual teaching, we are encouraging them not to have outside employment," added David Bender, coordinator of the Elementary and Kindergarten Education degree program and associate professor of educational psychology. "That's why financial aid is so important."

Currently, 12 Berks campus students are beginning their student teaching practicums in the Reading School District in the spring semester. That number is expected to increase to about 36 within two years.

The campus is developing partnerships with the 10th & Green and 13th & Green elementary schools in Reading in order to provide a model of collaboration that will strengthen learning and teaching in the school district of children, while providing clinical experiences for Penn State students.

Wachovia’s gift comes through the Wachovia Foundation, whose mission is to build strong vibrant communities, improve the quality of life, and make a positive difference where we live and work, according to Kathleen Smarilli, president of Wachovia’s central Pennsylvania region.

“One of the best ways we can create positive change is through education,” Smarilli said. “The Wachovia Urban Scholars program at Penn State Berks is a perfect fit for Wachovia in that it not only provides access to higher education for worthy college students, but it also provides more student teachers to City of Reading schools. Our hope is that this experience will motivate these future teachers to choose to make their teaching contribution in the Reading School District. We see this as a win-win opportunity.”

Wachovia is one of the nation’s largest diversified financial services companies, providing a broad range of retail banking and brokerage, asset and wealth management, and corporate and investment banking products and services.