UC Senior Awarded For Her Dedication To Young Children
Mallory Burkett was awarded from an endowment established by a UC alumna who wanted to support future teachers in early childhood education.
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Lisa Ventre
Mallory Burkett, a University of Cincinnati senior in early childhood education, is the 2012 recipient of the Pearl M. Wright Award from the UC College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH). The award recognizes a UC senior’s outstanding dedication to teaching young children.
Burkett, a student from Brookville, Ohio, was selected from among 13 applications and six finalists to receive $18,500 to apply toward tuition and other college expenses as well as housing and living costs. Another $32,000 was distributed to the other finalists, says Cammie Hulett, assistant academic director and scholarship coordinator for CECH.
A CECH tradition since 1999, the Pearl M. Wright Award comes from a $660,000 endowment established by Kathryn E. Wright, named in memory of her sister. Both women graduated from CECH in the 1920s, dedicated their careers to education and shared a home in Clifton.
Pearl M. Wright spent 30 years working for Clifton School and was principal when she retired in 1957. Kathryn Wright dedicated much of her career to working with blind and visually impaired children at Bloom Junior High School, and later worked at Kirby Road School before taking early retirement to care for her ailing father.
Pearl M. Wright was 96 years old when she died in 1990. Kathryn’s will was written in 1992, four years prior to her death at age 95. Her will established the award as a tribute to her sister, specifying that the annual award honor a UC senior who “best exemplifies high moral and academic standards of a primary teacher – who is sensitive, loving and understanding of little children.”
Burkett says she was inspired to become a teacher by her second-and-third-grade teacher, Kirsten Page. The two remained lifelong friends, and in fact, Burkett says Page is going to be one of her bridesmaids when Burkett gets married this summer. “I was in the first class that she ever taught and now she is one of my best friends,” says Burkett.
In addition to her education, Burkett’s work, volunteer service and undergraduate research has all focused on building a brighter future for children. She says she’s interested in becoming a first-grade teacher and building literacy skills in children.
Her undergraduate research at UC examined using iPads in classrooms for 9th-through-12th grade students who had multiple disabilities.
“Being able to see a child who was unable to use a pencil write their name on an iPad was one of the most amazing experiences I had ever witnessed,” she says. “It really showed me how important technology can be in the classroom.”
Burkett presented on the research last March at a regional research conference at the University of Louisville.
“She completely demonstrates the initiative, commitment, knowledge and skills that exemplify the highest standards of an early childhood educator,” says Annie Bauer, principal investigator on the iPad project and UC professor of special education. “Mallory is a fabulous student representative of the UC teacher education program, her college and the University of Cincinnati.”UC’s College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services has been dedicated to excellence in teaching for more than a century. With more than 35,000 alumni, 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students and more than 150 faculty and staff, the college prepares students to work in diverse communities, provides continual professional development and fosters education leadership at the local, state, national and international levels.