July 2, 2024
Life At Witt

Serving Future Students

Rising junior Allyson Gardner earns 2024 Cornett Teaching Award

Allyson Gardner, class of 2026 from Berlin Heights, Ohio, has been named the 2024 recipient of The Claudia E. and Charles F. Cornett Creative Teaching Merit Scholarship, which annually recognizes a rising junior or senior education major or minor seeking teacher licensure who has a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA and exhibits creative behaviors and philosophies. Gardner, an English and German major with a minor in education, participated in the Wittenberg in Wittenberg, Germany study abroad program during spring semester. She recently took a few minutes to answer some questions about the award and what inspired her to pursue a career in education.

Wittenberg: How and when did you realize you wanted to be a teacher?

Gardner: I have wanted to be a teacher since my first day of kindergarten. I moved many times growing up, but I always found that my teachers served as positive role models, shaping the way I view school and education. My mother worked in schools off and on, so many of my summers were spent racing down hallways on rolling chairs and spending extra time in teachers' classrooms. I can't imagine myself in any other career field.

Wittenberg: How has the education department and your Wittenberg education in general prepared you for the future?

Gardner: Wittenberg has provided numerous opportunities for me to practice and learn about education, and I am excited to only be halfway through that training. No teacher can truly be "prepared" for their first year, but Wittenberg has placed me directly in classrooms with seasoned teachers so that I can experience some of the chaos that is to come. In Dr. McGuffey's and Professor Hill's classes, I have been given the chance to interact with students at their level, showing me that classrooms and schools are truly their world, and the teacher's job is to "merely" provide the best resources for students to grow. While studying abroad in Germany this semester, I have been able to work with every grade from K-13 in the German school system during my internship. This hands-on experience has allowed me to view schools and grade levels critically through a multicultural lens to self-reflect and determine where I can best serve my future students.

Wittenberg: What extracurricular activities have you been involved with at Wittenberg?

Gardner: On campus I am involved with the Weaver Chapel Association and Cru, as well as the Language Learning Department where I work as a German tutor. In the fall of 2023, I served as a peer mentor in an FYS (First Year Seminar) class, which I am hoping to continue through my years at Witt. I am always looking for new ways to interact with students at all levels and explore education through new perspectives.

Wittenberg: What are your goals after graduating from Wittenberg?

Gardner: After graduating from Witt, I am hoping to obtain a Fulbright scholarship, where I would go to Germany or Austria for a year to teach English. After that, I will find a job in Ohio teaching English or German while working to fulfill the requirements for the TEACH Grant, which I highly recommend to anyone looking to offset the costs of university. Eventually I plan to move to Germany and work with German or international students in foreign language.

Wittenberg: What does receiving the Cornett Teaching Award mean to you?

Gardner: Receiving the Cornett scholarship is an honor, especially knowing my peers in the education department. I can only imagine how competitive the pool must have been with this year's candidates. I believe firmly that each education major and minor meets the criteria for this award, and will make phenomenal teachers in their respective fields. This scholarship is going toward not only paying for my opportunity to study at Witt, but also my ability to work more actively in the community of Springfield and beyond. University is a major stressor, especially when it comes to finances. This award allows me to focus less on the logistics of my degree, and more on the substance of a teaching practice.

Cornett Creative Teaching Scholarship
Creative thinking is the defining characteristic of The Cornett Creative Teaching Merit Scholarship. As lifelong educators, Claudia, professor emeritus of education, and Charles, retired superintendent of Clark County Schools, view “out-of-the-box” thinking as the core of effective problem solving and central to excellent teaching.
Learn More
Debbie Ritter
Debbie Ritter
Writer and Content Editor

About Wittenberg

Wittenberg's curriculum has centered on the liberal arts as an education that develops the individual's capacity to think, read, and communicate with precision, understanding, and imagination. We are dedicated to active, engaged learning in the core disciplines of the arts and sciences and in pre-professional education grounded in the liberal arts. Known for the quality of our faculty and their teaching, Wittenberg has more Ohio Professors of the Year than any four-year institution in the state. The university has also been recognized nationally for excellence in community service, sustainability, and intercollegiate athletics. Located among the beautiful rolling hills and hollows of Springfield, Ohio, Wittenberg offers more than 100 majors, minors and special programs, enviable student-faculty research opportunities, a unique student success center, service and study options close to home and abroad, a stellar athletics tradition, and successful career preparation.

Back to top