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April 23: Alumna's Gift Will Help Future Teacher Work With Special Needs Students


Jonathan Potts

Carnegie Mellon Alumna's Gift Will Help
Future Teacher Work With Special Needs Students    

PITTSBURGH—Clara Reyes, who plans to teach special education students next year through Teach For America, has been awarded the Gretchen Lankford Award by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (H&SS) at Carnegie Mellon University.     

H&SS gives the award every year to a senior or seniors who plan to attend graduate school in order to pursue a career in either K–12 or higher education. Reyes will receive $2,500 and a book written by a faculty member or other distinguished author in her field of study.     

Reyes, a history and policy major who will graduate in May, will teach next year at a Phoenix high school with Teach For America, a national corps of outstanding recent college graduates who commit two years to teach in urban or rural public schools.     

"I'm very excited," Reyes said of winning the Lankford award. "Teaching is the one thing I've found that I consistently enjoy — explaining something to someone and seeing that light bulb go off."

Reyes' numerous activities at Carnegie Mellon include tutoring with the campus Role Models program, participating in the Scotch 'n' Soda theater club, and belonging to the Spanish and Latin Students Association. She is the daughter of Lydia Reyes of Yonkers, N.Y.    

The award is named for 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 University. 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 executive director of Executive Education at the university's Tepper School of Business and an adjunct professor of marketing. Lankford's brother, William Goldsmith, is an alumnus and emeritus member of the university's Board of Trustees.    

"Carnegie Mellon is my home," Lankford said.