A new scholarship for doctoral students was announced today. The Susan J. Lenski Curriculum and Instruction Dissertation Endowed Scholarship is intended for students studying literacy in curriculum and instruction at the doctoral level in the Graduate School of Education.
“We have such amazing students,” Dr. Lenski said, sharing that she completed a master’s and a doctorate while holding down a full-time job. “They are working while going to school. I can really relate to what they are going through.”
Dr. Lenski’s generous gift was motivated by a recent surge in GSE faculty giving. Three new scholarships were established by faculty and emeriti in the last year and overall faculty giving has increased significantly.
“I was truly inspired by the fact that so many of our GSE faculty are giving,” said Dr. Lenski. “It made me realize that I could do that, too.”
By establishing an endowed scholarship, she has made an investment that will fund scholarships in perpetuity. Dr. Lenski’s gift will provide an annual scholarship of $2,000 to a student who is conducting dissertation research on a literacy-related topic and/or in an English language arts classroom.
Dr. Lenski is a full professor in Curriculum and Instruction and a nationally recognized literacy expert. She teaches and advises in the GSE’s Curriculum and Instruction educator preparation program and doctoral program.
Before becoming a professor at PSU Dr. Lenski taught school for 20 years in Illinois and was a professor at Illinois State University for 11 years. She has worked with children in kindergarten through high school and in an alternative high school. She holds a master’s degree in early childhood education and has an EdD in reading from Northern Illinois University, DeKalb.
Her interest in literacy began in the 1970s and 80s when there was a resurgence of interest in literacy education research. As a young educator, she was intrigued by this work and wanted to learn more. She especially wanted to apply effective techniques to young students and found ways to integrate reading instruction into other subject areas. This process led her to author 18 books on successful literacy instruction for K-12 teachers. Dr. Lenski was awarded the Nila Banton Smith Award from the International Reading Association (IRA) for integrating reading in content area classes. She was on the International Reading Association board of directors from 2004-2007. She continues to focus primarily on strategic reading practices and preparing teacher candidates.
If you are interested in establishing or supporting a Graduate School of Education scholarship, please contact Jaymee Jacoby, director of development, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-725-4789.