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Walden Magazine // Jan 08, 2010

Presidential Scholarship Recipients Named

The Presidential Scholarship is awarded to graduates of a Walden University master’s program who demonstrate a personal, continued commitment to public service as they work toward a doctorate to improve their professional effectiveness.


In June, Walden named its three recipients for 2010.

Recipient: Christine Austin

Program: MS in Education (MSEd) to Doctor of Education (EdD)

Title: Eighth grade language arts and social studies teacher at Osborne Middle School in Hoschton, Ga.

Public Service Goal: Become an expert in effective instructional strategies for low-performing writers, and prepare at-risk students for the world before them.

How the Doctorate Will Improve My Professional Effectiveness: “In today’s technology boom, writing well is an underestimated skill. Instead of making sure sentences are constructed with fluency and meaning, students are relying on the tech-talk they are so accustomed to in text messages and email. Consequently, youth are losing the art of effective communication. While they do not recognize the sheer weight of this loss, I see it as a call to action. An EdD will help me become a highly effective teacher and teacher leader by providing me with resources and knowledge relevant to making a positive impact in the lives of my students and the community.”

Recipient: Joseph Menna

MS in Education (MSEd) to Doctor of Education (EdD)

Math program coordinator, middle school math teacher and leadership board member at the Friends School of Mullica Hill, N.J.

Public Service Goal: Provide leadership and quality learning to students at the Friends School, and offer encouragement and practical help to fellow colleagues.

How the Doctorate Will Improve My Professional Effectiveness: “A doctorate in education from Walden will enable me to continue to develop my own abilities to provide the most recent research-based knowledge in helping educational institutions create professional learning communities that will enhance professional educators and increase the success they have with the many student lives they influence. My experience at Walden has taught me the incredible value of teachers as researchers and instilled [in me a] desire to help them to take stock of their own incredible worth to their educational communities.”

Recipient: Iyonka Strawn-Valcy

MS in Psychology to PhD in Psychology

Parent advocate and administrator at the Knowledge Learning Corporation in Marietta, Ga.

Public Service Goal:
Improve accessibility to services for children with special needs and promote family wellness through improved service delivery.

How the Doctorate Will Improve My Professional Effectiveness: “I began my doctorate after serious contemplation of the area I wanted to focus on in psychology and decided that the Educational Psychology concentration would offer me the benefit of educating others and sparking their interests in the field. My experience at Walden as a master’s student and now as a PhD candidate has assisted in the transition of my wealth of experiences in a variety of disciplines and multicultural settings to a career in which I may use my education combined with my experiences toward purposeful action to assist special needs children and their families.”