Many local marine biology and ecology teachers and their students will benefit from the legacy of a George Mason University alumna and longtime elementary school teacher through a new fellowship program. The Ann C. Powel Memorial Scholarship Fund enables a K-12 teacher to spend a summer at the Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center (PEREC), thanks to director R. Christian “Chris” Jones’ endowment in his late wife’s name.
Jones recently finalized the $100,000 endowment that will annually offer a teacher the chance to work with one of the PEREC researchers during the summer. The stipend will allow the selected teacher to spend the summer researching aquatic systems while working with faculty members and devising a cumulative lesson plan that can be taken back to school in the fall and shared with students and other teachers via PEREC’s website.
Jones said he could think of no better tribute to his late wife of 25 years, who passed away in December 2013 after a lengthy illness.
“When you lose your spouse, you want to do something to celebrate her life,” Jones said.
Powel, who had earned undergraduate and master’s degrees at George Mason, had been an ardent fan of marine research since spending a summer in North Carolina at the marine lab run by Duke University and working daily with staff members there.
“She just found that incredibly inspiring and motivating,” Jones said.
Keenly aware that his wife had paid her own way for such a very memorable experience and that not all teachers could afford to do likewise, Jones wanted to make that kind of opportunity available to more educators.
Summer 2018 will mark the first time the stipend has come directly from the Ann C. Powel Memorial Scholarship Fund.
“It’s the best way to honor her,” Jones said.
Adapted from a story by John Hollis.