The Department of History at Kean University has announced the inaugural Marcus Corey Ellis Prize for Excellence in Student Teaching. The scholarship honors the memory of Marcus Ellis, a senior history education major who died tragically in a shooting on Hillside Avenue in Plainfield on August 31, 2016. The department will present the award to one or more outstanding student-teachers majoring in the same discipline as Ellis – history with a social studies certification – who are preparing to complete their student teaching experience.
“Marcus' personal goal was to change lives through teaching,” said Jonathan Mercantini, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the history department. “Our goal is to honor his memory and to help other students achieve the goal that Marcus, sadly, was not able to complete when his life ended tragically and far too soon. I think the award shows the impact Marcus had as a Kean student and the strong, positive impression he made on the University community.”
A Dean’s List student, Ellis, then 25, was respected by administrators, faculty and his fellow students for his academic success and his work as a Transfer Instructional Mentor for the School of General Studies. He was dedicated to helping others through his leadership, and volunteer and internship efforts, and he wanted to continue his service through teaching history.
The Marcus Corey Ellis Prize for Excellence in Student Teaching, which is open to students majoring in history with a teaching certification in social studies, was developed to provide financial support to students as they complete their student teaching and achieve the goals that Marcus had been pursuing.
The Department of History, located in Townsend 117, is collecting donations to fund the scholarship, and hopes to be able to raise enough money to continue to honor Ellis’s memory through his namesake scholarship for years to come.
“We hope to keep raising money to be able to offer the award every year to an outstanding Kean history teacher certification major,” said Mercantini. “We recognize that many students are forced to reduce their work hours in order to complete their student teaching. The Marcus Ellis Award is designed to help relieve students of some of that added financial burden and enable them to focus their energies on teaching.”
Kean University history education majors who wish to apply for the award can do so online at: bit.ly/kean_marcuscellis. Eligible candidates must be completing their student teaching in the next academic year, have a minimum 3.35 GPA and have successfully passed the PRAXIS II examination. To further Ellis’s legacy, applicants must also submit a 500-word essay on how they plan to impact students as a history teacher.