SALISBURY, MD---Salisbury University alumna Rachel Wood knows the importance of inspiring a love for learningespecially when it comes to the subjects of science and math.
That’s why the longtime educator and her husband, Dr. Joseph Miller Jr., have established a $125,000 scholarship for SU education students planning to teach in these fields. The scholarship is matched by an additional $25,000 from Corning, Inc. of New York, considered the world leader in specialty glass and ceramics. Miller is the company’s executive vice president and chief technology officer.
“We have been deeply concerned about the shortage of highly qualified science and math teachers,” Wood said. “Knowing the quality of teacher education at SU, it was an obvious choice to make, especially because of its programs that support science and math education.”
No stranger to the University’s science curriculum, Wood (’71, ’89) earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and then a master’s in science education from SU. The scholarship honors her favorite SU professor and mentor: Dr. Leonard Garigliano (better known to many as Dr. G), a long-time faculty member in the Education Department.
“I was always impressed with Dr. G for several reasons,” Wood said. “He was highly qualified, very enthusiastic about his subject, and he set high standards for students.” She described Garigliano as being at the forefront of involving students with real experiments.
“It’s become popular now to say kids should be doing ‘inquiry-based’ science, but Dr. G stood out because even back then he encouraged prospective teachers to have students learn science by doing science,” Wood said. “His values and beliefs about science education had a tremendous impact on me and consequently on some of my students’ accomplishments.”
A former Delmar High School teacher and the K-12 science supervisor for the state of Delaware, Wood co-founded the Alternative School for Math and Science (ASMS), a charter school in Corning, NY, four years ago. Over the years, some of her students’ accomplishments have included winning national awards for environmental problem solving, and helping ASMS become one of three middle schools in the U.S. to be named Intel® Schools of Distinction for science excellence.
A former chief technology officer for DuPont, Miller also knows the pressing need for encouraging students with an interest in math and science. He was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the National Science Board, which oversees the National Science Foundation (NSF).
“NSF members have always been very concerned about developing the next generation of scientists and mathematicians,” Miller said. “They are concerned about students’ educational needs and their declining interest in pursing these fields. Rachel and I believe the quality of education in science starts with teachers, and so it is our hope that this scholarship impacts SU students by supporting and encouraging them to pursue the teaching of science as a career.”
Designed specifically for students in the Seidel School of Education and Professional Studies, the Wood/Miller Scholarship provides aid to students who “express interest and possess aptitude for teaching math or science to the students of tomorrow.” Recipients must demonstrate financial need and remain in good academic standing as they pursue their degree in teacher education. The award is renewable for four years.
“The gift is special in two ways,” said Kim Nechay, director of development for University Advancement and assistant director of the SU Foundation. “Not only are Rachel Wood and Joseph Miller making a gift back to her Alma Mater to help students who desire to enter her profession, but they are also honoring an outstanding SU professor.”
“One of the things I so respect about SU is that it has never forgotten or altered from its original vision of preparing highly qualified teachers,” Wood said. “By establishing a scholarship of this magnitude it validates that the teaching of science and math is a noble and rewarding profession.”
For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu.