2015 Community Engagement Scholarship Award

Left to right: Alycia Meriweather, Detroit Public Schools; Gail Richmond, Michigan State University; Tom Bordenkircher, Woodrow Wilson Foundation.

The 2015 Community Engagement Scholarship Award honored Gail Richmond, associate professor of teacher education, and the Detroit Public Schools for their partnership in constructing and implementing a model program designed to prepare and support individuals with a commitment to improving the lives and well-being of children from high-poverty communities through the teaching of science and mathematics.

Richmond's research has focused on providing access to high-quality STEM experiences for young learners, both in and out of school. Her research has also contributed to how educators conceive of and engage in science teaching across multiple settings and with diverse audiences. She is committed to applying those research findings to helping students from all backgrounds embrace science learning.

This commitment is perhaps best reflected in Richmond's 26 years as the director of the national summer STEM research program for high school students at MSU. Not only does she provide these 650 students with research guidance and opportunities, she also provides them with the skills to master research proposals, report writing, and presentations. With her direct involvement, these accomplishments help prepare them to apply to college and then to succeed. These students come from multiple racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds; because of the investment she makes in the program and in the students, they have met with great success, and their confidence and knowledge has helped them become part of the STEM community in their studies and in their careers.

The Community Engagement Scholarship Award is conferred annually upon one MSU researcher for exemplary engaged scholarship with a community partner. The researcher and partner are recognized at the University's Awards Convocation in February, where they each receive a stipend of $1,500.*

The award-winning partnership also represents MSU in the annual competition for the regional W. K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Award and the national C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award. Both awards are jointly sponsored by the Engagement Scholarship Consortium and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. They are among the most prestigious recognitions of exemplary engaged scholarship in the United States, and also provide cash prizes, including $20,000 for the top national award.

* Beginning with the 2016 award, the stipend for each recipient will be $2,500.

Richmond's work has been supported by multiple grants, primarily from the National Science Foundation, and has been disseminated in peer-reviewed publications and through various other venues.

MSU's W. K. Kellogg Foundation Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows Program provides integrated course- and field-based preparation, a year-long residency in a partner school, and ongoing professional support during the first three years of teaching. The goal of this collaboration is to prepare a new generation of STEM teachers who will actively engage individuals and organizations within their communities to help ensure the health and well-being of students, families, and communities; and to share research findings to enhance researchers', practitioners', and policy makers' understanding of factors critical for the development of effective and resilient educators. The Woodrow Wilson Foundation National Fellowship Program has been a financial supporter and an active collaborator in the design, implementation, and refinement of Richmond's work.

The Detroit Public Schools has been a core district partner, working with Richmond to identify and partner fellows with mentor teachers, to provide ongoing professional support to fellows and mentors, and to offer a wealth of site-based experiences to fellows to enhance their development of the knowledge and skills critical for effective teaching in challenging contexts.

"This university-community collaboration provides an excellent example of the scholarship-guided outreach that MSU is committed to as a land-grant university," said Richmond. "Such collaborations are systemic, have practical and theoretical significance, and include a mutually beneficial relationship between MSU and a community partner. This particular partnership merits recognition for making a difference in the lives of underrepresented Michigan youth and Detroit Public Schools as well as encouraging the pursuit of STEM studies and careers."

  • Written by Carla Hills, University Outreach and Engagement

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