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Press Release

Contact:
Jonathan Potts
412-268-6094

For immediate release:
May 2, 2003

Future Teachers Receive Scholarship from Devoted Carnegie Mellon Alumna

PITTSBURGH—An alumna's lifelong devotion to Carnegie Mellon University will help two students realize their dream to teach in inner-city schools.

Every year, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Carnegie Mellon gives the Gretchen Lankford Award to seniors who plan to go on to graduate school in order to pursue a career in education. This year's winners are Stephanie Hepner, a major in international relations and Russian studies, and Christina Strellec, who is majoring in anthropology and history.

Strellec plans to pursue a master's degree in education next year at either Harvard University or the University of Pennsylvania‹she's been accepted to both‹while Hepner hopes to get some classroom experience while earning a teaching certificate and go to graduate school after that.

Hepner is the daughter of Steven and Susan Hepner, who live in Berlin, Germany, and Strellec is the daughter of Pamela and David Strellec from Tarentum, Pa. The students will share a $2,500 gift, and each will receive a book written by a faculty member or other distinguished author in the students' fields of study.

Strellec wants to teach American history in an urban high school. Her desire to teach in the inner city grew out of the classes she took toward a minor in minority studies at Carnegie Mellon.

"I learned about the discrepancies between urban schools with large minority populations and affluent white ones," Strellec said.

Hepner wants to join the New York City Teaching Fellows program, or remain in Pittsburgh and try to get emergency certification to teach at Linden Academy, a foreign language magnet elementary school in Pittsburgh's Point Breeze neighborhood. Both students said they have wanted to teach all their lives.

"I really want to teach everything," Hepner said.

The award is named after Gretchen Goldsmith Lankford, a 1943 graduate of Margaret Morrison Carnegie College, which closed in 1973. Margaret Morrison was an all-women's school that was one of the four original colleges in the Carnegie Institute of Technology, a predecessor of Carnegie Mellon. Lankford, a Pittsburgh native who now lives in Upper St. Clair, received a master's degree in public management in 1990 from what is now the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management.

Lankford met her late husband, Bill, while he was a doctoral student at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. Several other members of her family are alumni of Carnegie Mellon, including her son, John, who is the director of Executive Education at the university's Graduate School of Industrial Administration. Lankford's brother, William Goldsmith, is an alumnus and an emeritus member of the university's board of trustees.

"Carnegie Mellon has been a continuing part of my life for 60 years. I have never really left the campus," Lankford said.

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