A 2003 graduate of Samford University’s Orlean Beeson School of Education, Pamela Yau Smith earned her Bachelor of Science in education degree and four state teaching certifications through Samford’s Early Childhood, Special Education, Elementary, Elementary Collaborative (ESEC) program. Following graduation, Smith taught at Edgewood Elementary and received the Milken Family Foundation Award. She currently serves on Orlean Beeson School of Education’s Dean’s Executive Council and Centennial Plus Committee.
During her time at Samford, Smith was a scholarship recipient. She holds a deep appreciation for the donors who invested in her and made her Samford experience possible. This summer, Smith and her husband Bill established The Bill and Pam Smith Family Foundation Scholarship. They hope the scholarship will provide a similar blessing and experience for future education candidates.
The Bill and Pam Smith Family Foundation scholarship will be awarded to candidates pursuing a career in elementary education, with preference given to those who are passionate about teaching mathematics and science. During her time at Edgewood Elementary, Smith taught science and states that she has always had a fondness for mathematics and science education.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, schools throughout the country are experiencing a teacher shortage and math and science are among the four subjects most affected. The areas of special education and foreign language are also reporting shortages. “We hope this scholarship opportunity will inspire more of our candidates to pursue the areas of math and science,” said Bonnie Rabe, Orlean Beeson School of Education interim dean.
In addition to the gift to endow this scholarship, the Smiths made an annual gift to allow for an immediate award this upcoming academic year.
“Endowments like these are vitally important to Samford’s future,” said Rabe. “We are immensely thankful for the opportunity to award this scholarship in its first year, as well as, create a source of stability, flexibility and opportunity for future candidates who will pursue their calling at Samford.”
ESEC candidate Mallory “Nicole” Payne was selected as the first recipient of the Bill and Pam Smith Foundation scholarship. Payne is a senior from Madison, Alabama. Her professors describe her as the “perfect choice” as the inaugural scholarship recipient. “Her commitment to teaching mirrors Mrs. Smith’s evident passion for education,” said Karen Birkenfeld, Teacher Education department chair.“I am so thankful to have been awarded the Bill and Pam Smith Foundation scholarship,” said Payne. “Looking back on this past semester, one of my favorite memories was teaching a STEAM filled lesson to 4th grade students. I am grateful for the opportunity to further nurture my love for science and math and continue improving my skill of making STEAM lesson plans fun and engaging for my students.”