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Lending a Hand

TC's Zankel Fellows receive financial aid in return for urban service work

Beth Guadagni, a student in TC’s Reading Specialist program, spends her Mondays and Tuesdays at the Heritage School in East Harlem. She helps a reading teacher and a history and economics teacher with in-class group work and individual tutoring. • Jill DeCosta, a student in the same program who once taught high school English in Japan, also puts in significant time at Heritage. She assists a reading specialist by working on targeted skills with small groups of students and also administers reading tests, such as the San Diego Quick Reading Assessment, to monitor students’ progress. • Guadagni and DeCosta are both part of the College’s Arthur Zankel Urban Fellowship Program. Each year, the Fellowship provides a cohort of around 50 TC students with grants of $10,000 each. In exchange, they perform a minimum of five hours of service per week, in addition to field placement time required by their degree programs with inner-city youth. • Established in 2006 with a $10-million bequest from late TC Board Vice Chair Arthur Zankel, the program combines two important aims of the College: boosting financial aid, and increasing the College’s commitment to urban service. Today, Zankel Fellows work through a wide range of the College’s outreach projects, including the TC Reading and Math Buddies, the Harlem Ivy after-school program and the Student Press Initiative. • Guadagni says her participation in the Zankel program has provided unique benefits. “I’m looking at curricula and watching teachers’ methods with a different, more literacy-based focus,” she wrote in an e-mail. “My observation of the history and economics classes has given me perspective on the challenges of literacy instruction across the content areas.” • As an extension of their work at Heritage, DeCosta and Guadagni are working on a joint master’s thesis, focused on effective reading comprehension instruction for struggling adolescent students. • “I am grateful for this opportunity,” wrote DeCosta in an e-mail about the Zankel Fellowship. “It has given me on-the-job training.”

Published Thursday, May. 27, 2010


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