Mr. Bob Cantor, my high school AP psychology teacher, provided
me with a solid understanding of psychology and helped me
to determine my learning style. He encouraged students to
embrace diversity and to view the world from the perspectives
of others. He helped us to reflect on who we were and who
we could become. Mr. Cantor urged me to think outside the
box. He helped me to develop critical thinking skills and
to increase my confidence outside of my comfort zone. At
Maryland, Dr. Brian Bequette's enthusiasm for nutrition
stimulated my interest in the field. His nutrition course
and lab have influenced my college education to a great extent.
As a research assistant, I gained practical livestock and
lab bench experience. By allowing me to participate in research
and data analysis, providing me with solid academic advice,
and helping me to develop a strong work ethic, Dr. Bequette
has empowered me to navigate my college experience and to
build a foundation for success.
Great teachers teach students how to live and how to become
the people they want to be. Dr. Thomas Smith of the technology
department at Randolph High School and Professor Karl Du
Puy of the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation
are great teachers. Dr. Smith inspired and encouraged me
as I decided to study architecture. He illustrated that a
broad range of experiences complement a primary career path
and that one never stops being a student. At Maryland, Professor
Du Puy has helped me to understand what studying architecture
means in the larger trajectory of my life. A dynamic figure,
Professor Du Puy found his passion in life and pursued it
as a career. He pushes me farther in my design work than
I thought I could go and makes my projects meaningful and
instructive. The most important lessons that he teaches may
be about how to approach my subject. Some day I hope to become
as unforgettable to young people as these teachers have been
The 5th grade is a critical period for many students; Mrs.
Ross filled that year with learning and wonderful memories.
Her use of creative methods, like making us use vocabulary
words in a sentence as "passwords" to get into class, made
learning both fun and effective. Her warm, funny and giving
nature made her an approachable teacher, a characteristic
that is crucial when working with children with diverse personalities.
Nominating her is a small thank you for her dedication to
giving students a challenging and productive education. At
the University of Maryland, I have found Dr. Gabriele Strauch
to be an amazing faculty advisor and instructor. She has
helped me to improve my German composition and conversation
skills and has taught me concepts I did not realize existed.
Dr Strauch strives to give me academic opportunities; she
nominates me for programs, awards, and scholarships, and
writes letters of recommendation for me. I am extremely fortunate
to have had Mrs. Ross and Dr. Strauch as mentors in my life.
A conservative Catholic private school is not the first
place one would think of as forming the roots of one's feminism.
Yet Meg Kane-Smith's theology classes were where I
began to think, write, and act as an independent and empowered
woman. Ms. Kane-Smith spoke her mind, which showed me that
it was okay to disagree. She never let me get away with doing
anything but my best, but was always available to empower
and support me. At the University of Maryland, Dr. Michelle
Rowley has pushed me to expand my thinking through her teachings
in the classroom and her tireless work with me on composing
my thesis. She has shown me how to be an independent and
passionate person who challenges and questions the world
around her. The reason I am where I am today is that both
Ms. Kane-Smith and Dr. Rowley have taken a personal interest
in my growth as a student and as a person. I am grateful
for the mentorship of both of these women who have given
me what I consider to be the most valuable gift of my education – my
After a difficult relocation from Western New York
to Eastern Maryland, I was fortunate to be placed in Mrs.
Mary Lou Coffin's regular-level freshman English class. She
recognized my talent and passion, and she pushed me to share
them with my fellow students. Without her I would never have
had the desire to move into the advanced-level English class
my sophomore year. Without her I would have lost the childhood
love of literature that had helped sustain me for so long.
At Maryland, Dr. Merrill Feitell has done for creative writing
what Mrs. Coffin did for English literature. In her Intermediate
Fiction Workshop, Dr. Feitell forced her students to reevaluate
the genre of the short story and to develop a more sincere
focus on the lives and internal struggles of the characters
they created. She has been committed to the development of
my goals for the future as well as my writing skills. As
my departmental honors thesis advisor, Dr. Feitell mentors
me as I produce a work of fiction and gain a stronger sense
of why and to what end one writes.
"If I were a fish I would have fins." Ms.
Lodeesen's introduction to Latin conditional sentences,
like so many of her lessons, would stick with me for years.
Her enthusiasm for her subject, willingness to have fun and
to be wacky in class, and her endless font of ideas for creative
projects all contributed to her many years of success in
the eyes of her students. I was in her Latin class for three
of my four years of high school. Her concern for the success
of her students motivated me to continue studying the Classics
in college and beyond. I was fortunate to find another inspirational
teacher at the University of Maryland. I studied Ancient
Art History with Professor Marjorie Venit. She has pushed
me to succeed in her classes and in every endeavor, academic
or personal, that we have discussed. Her lectures are engaging
and thought provoking, the assignments challenging but rewarding,
and her advice has always been invaluable.
Mrs. Kaiser makes learning exciting and brings out the best
in each of her students. I met her my freshman year of high
school when I was taking Algebra I for the second time. She
gave me the confidence to enjoy math and to excel in an area
that had made me uncomfortable previously. As the Student
Council faculty advisor, Mrs. Kaiser encouraged me to join
the group. I became the Council President two years later.
Now I am majoring in finance and accounting, and serve as
the president of another student organization, Smith Ambassadors.
Without the encouragement I received from Mrs. Kaiser I truly
do not think that I would be the student leader that I am
today. At Maryland, Dr. Francis Alt challenges his students
and relates to them on a personal level. He made our Six
Sigma class interesting by implementing activities in the
classroom and drawing upon students' opinions and commentaries.
Dr. Alt has high expectations for his students, but he supports
them every step of the way as they learn and grow throughout
Mr. Lariviere, my Algebra II teacher and Sophomore
Class Council advisor, became a driving force behind my motivation
to enjoy learning and to pursue opportunities to enrich my
academic experience and my character. He challenged me to
make difficult decisions, to uphold a high level of professionalism,
and to convey unparalleled passion and energy. Through his
guidance I learned to position myself as an effective leader.
I still look to Mr. Lariviere for advice and guidance on
professional and personal matters. Dr. Gerald Suarez, executive
director of the QUEST Honors Fellows Program at Maryland,
has been inspirational. He has provided me with the tools
and opportunities to question traditional thought and has
empowered me to develop and realize innovative ideas. Dr.
Suarez has taught me to set my goals high and to strive for
excellence in every situation. My mentors' contributions
cannot be overstated, and I am truly thankful for the influence
they have had on my growth as a student, as a leader, and
as an individual.
Throughout my educational experience, I have learned valuable
lessons from all of my teachers. Two teachers stand out especially.
Ms. Jeannette Faber, my AP English teacher during my senior
year in high school, became my mentor and taught me valuable
lessons that apply to my education and to my life. Ms. Faber
demonstrates compassion and cares deeply for her students.
A kind, interesting, and down-to-earth person, she keeps
in touch with her former students. At the University of Maryland,
I was fortunate to study Advanced Financial Management with
Dr. Elinda Kiss. Dr. Kiss works hard to ensure that her students
are comfortable with the material that she teaches. She goes
above and beyond expectations to make herself available for
out-of-class consultations. She encourages her students to
use her as a resource. Dr. Kiss makes classes interesting;
I have thoroughly enjoyed studying with her and getting to
I have been blessed to study with teachers who demonstrate
deep knowledge of their subjects and deep dedication to their
students. Mr. Shawn Dougherty, my 11th grade Honors Government
and AP U.S. History teacher, viewed history as tragic and
comic, heartbreaking and hilarious. He sprinkled his wide-reaching,
sometimes sarcastic, but always informative lectures with
humor. Mr. Dougherty personified the ability to "disagree
without being disagreeable." I will remember his respect
for the American political process, his honesty and candor
toward students, and his love for and grasp of the heights
and foibles of our nation's democratic experience.
At Maryland, Professor Margaret Pearson's incisive
overview of Chinese politics provided a gateway to another
culture. She is to Chinese history and politics what Mr.
Dougherty is to American history and politics: a teacher
able to blend a strong knowledge of the subject with an even
stronger desire to spread that knowledge to students. These
teachers have my deep respect; I hope that they inspire others
as they have me.
Ms. Anne Marie Garth, my 11th and 12th grade AP English
teacher, helped me to develop a passion for writing. She
used peer group response, inspired by Peter Elbow's Writing without
Teachers, to let students voice their opinions, employ artistic
freedom, learn from their peers, and build confidence as
they revised their writings. Ms. Garth's inspiration
and encouragement led me to share my passion for writing
by becoming a tutor at the UM Writing Center. At Maryland,
Dr. Laure Brooks has enhanced my interest in Criminology
and Criminal Justice. In her Research Methods course I learned
to conduct research as a criminologist, to seize opportunities
to gain experience in the field, and to grow as an individual.
She encouraged her students to meet with her, and I took
advantage of opportunities to get her advice. Dr. Brooks
wants to see every one of her students succeed. This fall,
I look forward to being an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant
in her Research Methods course. Both Ms. Anne Marie Garth
and Dr. Laure Brooks model true mentorship.
Throughout elementary school I was told that I was not good
enough to be placed in average-level math courses. I was
too slow during math assessments and remained in a lower-level
class despite my ability eventually to understand and correctly
apply mathematical concepts. Progressing through middle school
and high school, I became a good math student, yet lacked
confidence in my command of the subject. In 12th grade, I
excelled in Mr. Michael Cascione's pre-calculus class.
He gave me the opportunity to understand the subject matter
completely, encouraged me to do my best in the class, and
gave me the confidence I needed to succeed in college. At
the University of Maryland, Dr. Sandra Gordon-Salant's
course, Anatomy, Pathology, and Physiology of the Auditory
System, sparked my interest in the field of audiology. She
has assisted me toward my goals of attending graduate school
and ultimately becoming an audiologist. I am thankful that
Dr. Gordon-Salant makes time in her schedule to help her
former students realize their goals.
Education goes beyond what can be learned in the classroom.
In the 9th grade, Mr. Rick Jones began teaching me about
history. I had always believed history was my weak point;
it seemed fairly irrelevant to me. Mr. Jones sparked my interest
in history by emphasizing the past's effects on the
present. Later that year, I tried out for the tennis team.
Mr. Jones let me join the team even though I lacked experience.
The tennis team provided me with my fondest high school memories
and a chance for Mr. Jones to teach me life lessons concerning
the treatment of others that would have been difficult to
communicate within the classroom. At the University of Maryland,
Dr. Miyuki Yoshikami continued my education outside of the
classroom during winter term 2008 in Japan. Her course challenged
my comfort zone and gave me new self- and world-concepts.
Both Mr. Jones and Dr. Yoshikami have made lasting impressions
on my life that go beyond acquiring new knowledge; they have
changed the way I live my life—for the better.
Mr. Kesang "Kippy" Chin, my high school chemistry
teacher, motivated me greatly. He was always willing to teach
me inside and outside of the classroom. His holistic approach
helped me to learn valuable lessons in chemistry and in life.
His genuine love for chemistry and science overflowed into
my life; I became deeply interested in chemistry and its
applications. Mr. Chin's influence led me to major
in chemistry at the University of Maryland. In spring 2006,
I studied with Dr. Daniel Falvey while doing research in
his lab as part of the Rollinson Fellowship Program, which
supports a semester of research for freshmen chemistry majors.
Dr. Falvey inspired me to increase my understanding of organic
chemistry and research. His unwavering support and optimism
have helped me grow as a person. I benefit from his positive
spirit as I attempt to complete difficult projects. Both
Dr. Falvey and Mr. Chin possess the talent to explain concepts
in simple yet fascinating ways; their influence has been
integral to my motivation and growth as a student.
During my academic career, I have had several exceptional
teachers. Mrs. Diane McAllister, my AP Psychology teacher
and National Honor Society faculty advisor, has influenced
my life to the greatest extent. She helped further my love
of learning and helped me to develop my leadership skills.
Whether lecturing about Erick Erickson or Sigmund Freud,
she demonstrated enthusiasm and passion. She challenged me
intellectually and truly made learning fun. I will always
remember the great encouragement and advice she gave me.
While at the University of Maryland, I had the pleasure of
studying Cell Biology and Physiology with Dr. Reid Compton.
He projects a personable style and makes lecture material
exciting. Both his lectures and our discussions during his
office hours have deepened my interest in Cell Biology. He
shows genuine interest in his students and his door is always
Dr. Alyce Doehner, who taught me math in the 5th
and 6th grades, will always stand out in my mind as my most
influential teacher because she challenged me to do better
work. To put it charitably, my work ethic was sloppy before
I met Dr. Doehner. Refusing to accept low-quality work, she
gave my work failing grades until I improved it. At the time,
I was furious about the "misfortune" of being
in her class for two years, but those two years of hard work
helped me to improve my work ethic and to acquire the problem
solving skills that I would need through the rest of my studies
in math. Lawrence Washington is one of the best teachers
at the University of Maryland, both inside and outside the
classroom. In class he never hesitates to explain the general
ideas and flow of difficult mathematical arguments; this
makes him incredibly effective at teaching complex concepts.
Outside of the classroom, I consult with Dr. Washington about
classes and career matters. His approachable style and broad
mathematical knowledge make him a true credit to the University.
One of the first teachers who inspired me was my 8th grade science teacher, Mr. James Silvestri. He taught the first science class that sparked my enthusiasm. His class included exciting experiments and he encouraged questions on all sorts of science topics. His insights truly fostered my curiosity. Mr. Silvestri helped me to focus my curiosity on science and to develop a passion for astronomy. My research mentor at Maryland, Dr. A'Hearn, has been my most supportive and influential professor. In addition to teaching me about comets and astronomical research, he has helped me to develop critical thinking skills. During my research, Dr. A'Hearn advised me on various options. Even though he may have known the solution to a particular problem, he always let me make my own choices, mistakes, and advances to develop a better understanding of the research. Throughout my internship, Dr. A'Hearn projected such a positive outlook that it motivated me to work harder and to get excited about my work. Dr. A'Hearn has truly inspired me.
Michelle Lewis, my 6th and 7th grade math teacher,
has been a positive influence in my life with her bubbly
personality and great sense of humor. She always found ways
to make math fun and inviting. "Around the World," a
popular math game, was one of the tools she used to engage
students. Ms. Lewis motivated me to do my best work and encouraged
me to become a teacher who empowers her students to reach
their full potential. At Maryland, Ms. Maria Salvadore has
become another influential person in my life. Her passion
for children's literature captivates even those who
are not interested in reading. In her class, I learned the
positive influences books have over the minds of young readers.
She is a wonderful and effective lecturer and an approachable
advisor. Experiences shape the way a person becomes an adult.
Thanks to Ms. Lewis and Ms. Salvadore, I gained enthusiasm
for both math and reading; I hope to carry these interests
into my classroom as a future educator.
Two exceptional educators have helped direct me
on the path towards becoming a teacher. In Ms. Elaine Boothby's
11th and 12th grade AP English classes at South River High
School, I experienced her contagious passion for learning
and teaching. Through her encouragement, instruction, and
feedback, she played a significant role in shaping my perspectives
on school, teaching, and life. She made English exciting
and prepared me with skills and life lessons. Ms. Robin Bonica,
my Introduction to Teaching instructor at Maryland, put my
teaching worries to rest with her personable demeanor and
meaningful advice. Whether discussing classroom observations
or current issues in our school systems, Ms. Bonica was always
available to answer questions and provide assistance. She
helped me feel at home in the College of Education and see
that I could manage the demands of college and teaching.
These two instructors encouraged me to pursue my dreams;
I hope to teach with the same passion and to convey the same
love of learning.
Great teachers are passionate about both the subjects and
students they teach. Ms. Deena Barlev, my 8th grade English
teacher, was one of my most influential teachers. Her love,
compassion, and care showed her investment in the success
of all of her students. Her mentoring made me believe that
I was special and could achieve any goal to which I put my
mind and heart. Ms. Barlev helped me to become passionate
about learning and to use my creativity in education and
in problem solving. Dr. Arthur Johnson, my instructor in
Basic Electronic Design and Transport Processes courses,
has been one of my most important mentors at Maryland. He
enables students to solve problems successfully and to see
how engineers must approach theoretical and real-life problems
to maintain their credibility, professionalism, and moral
standards. Dr. Johnson's creativity and liveliness
in the classroom demonstrate his passion for education. His
approachability and knowledge make him a great source of
advice for engineering and other areas of education.
Ms. Brooke Kuhl-McClelland, my high school dance
teacher, taught me as much about life as she did about dance.
She taught me that with determination and hard work I can
accomplish just about anything. She taught me how important
it is to love what you do and that it is fine to have fun
as long as you know when to be serious. When I was recruited
to play lacrosse in college, Ms. Kuhl-McClelland emphasized
the importance of choosing a college based on my feelings
about being at the school rather than about the sports team.
Dr. James Milke has played an instrumental role in my decision
to pursue fire protection engineering. After seeing fire
demonstrations and listening to his speech about the causes
of September 11th, I was fascinated and knew that I wanted
to learn more. Dr. Milke was one of the people who influenced
my decision to come to the University of Maryland. He has
inspired me to share my love of the fire protection program
with prospective students at open houses. As my advisor and
professor, he has helped guide my career at the University.
I am especially grateful to Mrs. Traci Fairbairn and Ms.
Penny Bender Fuchs for their invaluable guidance and support.
Mrs. Fairbairn, my 5th grade teacher, helped me to gain a
better understanding of my abilities. Through her warm, caring
nature and supportive words, she encouraged me to break out
of my shell. One of my favorite memories of 5th grade was
being selected to deliver a speech to my peers about the
Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) Program. I will always
remember how much I learned from Mrs. Fairbairn. As a freshman
at the University of Maryland, I took a journalism writing
course with Ms. Fuchs. She helped me to develop a strong
foundation in reporting; she challenged her students to think
critically about the media. An engaging instructor, Ms. Fuchs
has a genuine desire to help her students reach their full
potential. She continues to mentor me as I pursue a career
in journalism. I would not be where I am today without outstanding
teachers like Mrs. Fairbairn and Ms. Fuchs.
In the 10th grade, I decided to become a journalist.
I wanted to report on injustices. In the 11th grade, I met
Mr. Kevin Keegan who taught me the basics of old-school journalism,
which is now fading from newsrooms as technology supersedes
tradition. In his classes, I wrote my first stories, learned
how to be a reporter, to edit, and to put a newspaper together.
Mr. Keegan helped me prepare for the SATs, conduct my college
search, and secure my first internship. His humor made high
school fun. Mr. Keegan helped me to believe that I was a
good reporter. I became used to succeeding. At Maryland,
I met Ms. Penny Fuchs, who gave me my first "F." I
learned that I was not invincible. I became paranoid about
everything in the AP Stylebook. I learned that there was
more to becoming a successful journalist than what I knew
already. Ms. Fuchs had been in the field; I wanted to do
everything she had done. She helped me to secure internships
and taught me everything I know about applying for jobs.
Her recommendations have opened opportunities I never would
have had otherwise.
Mr. Brendon Field is one of the most dedicated,
supportive, and compassionate teachers I have encountered.
He taught 12th grade physics with a contagious enthusiasm
that inspired me and my whole class. He provided his students
with knowledge, but more important, with understanding. He
gave students extra help outside the classroom and he coached
the physics team. I could talk to him about issues unrelated
to class. Mr. Field's belief in my character and ability
built the foundation for my success at Maryland. In the Kinesiology
Honors Program, I have the privilege of being advised by
Dr. Steve Roth. His enthusiasm for kinesiology and commitment
to his students make him a model academic advisor. Dr. Roth
makes sure his students are engaged intimately in kinesiology
and are well positioned to reach their degree and professional
goals. Faculty members like Dr. Roth are the driving force
for the growth of the Kinesiology Program. Dr. Roth will
be an invaluable contributor to the new School of Public
Health at Maryland.
Mrs. Dora Simons, my 10th grade English teacher, opened
my eyes to new perspectives, times, people, and places.
She nurtured my appreciation for literature and its intersections
with the world. She advised our high school's chapter
of the National Honor Society (NHS), and I served as the
chapter secretary. Mrs. Simons pushed me to exemplify NHS
principles of scholarship, leadership, service, and character,
principles that I uphold in all my endeavors. At Maryland,
I found another mentor, Dr. James Cohen, director of the
Urban Studies and Planning Program. He has helped me find
my place at the University. As my mentor in the Individual
Studies Program, he has encouraged me to follow my interests
and has believed in my future success. Dr. Cohen challenges
me to think about issues from a variety of perspectives;
this has expanded my horizons and strengthened my approach
to solving problems. I look forward to taking more classes
with him. In a challenging world, Dr. Cohen's optimism
is a true inspiration.
more information about the Merrill Presidential Scholars Program
Lisa Kiely, Assistant Dean, Office of Undergraduate Studies
2130 Mitchell Bldg. University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742
Phone: (301)405-0966 Fax:(301)314-9896 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org