Senior Emily Marshall, a Biology major and Secondary Education minor from Louisville

Eight future math and science teachers – including Georgetown College senior Emily Marshall of Louisville – recently learned that they would have an additional $5,000 this year to apply toward their independent college education. The students, representing eight different independent Kentucky colleges and universities, are the recipients of the first Gheens STEM Teacher Preparation Scholarships.

Improving STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education is a priority for Kentucky as it builds a globally competitive 21st century workforce.

“Producing highly skilled teachers in math and sciences is an area where independent colleges excel in meeting the needs of Kentucky’s K-12 schools,” said Gary S. Cox, president of the Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities (AIKCU).

“This is an important choice Emily (Marshall) has made – and kind of rare in our field – as schools have a really hard time finding good science teachers,” said Georgetown’s Mary Anne Carletta, an assistant professor of Biology and Environmental Sciences who wrote her letter of recommendation. “Most Bio-grads go into pre-med, pre-dentistry or pre-pharmacy.”

A Biology major and a 4.0 student in her minor (Secondary Education), Emily Marshall is a Dean’s List student. Following graduation and then her wedding in May, she plans to teach Science in a Jefferson County high school next fall while working on her Masters in School Administration. In her application, she wrote: “Personally, as a female in a male-dominated subject, I feel that I will be a role model for female students. I plan to put my heart and soul into teaching my students and to try my best to help them learn something every time they walk into my classroom, whether it be science-related or just real-life advice.”

Emily developed a real love for marine life during family vacations – especially when swimming or snorkeling with her father. And, now she envisions plenty of hikes and trips to aquariums and museums for “biological experiences” that she will share with her students. Not entirely ruling medicine out, she said “I may explore the areas of medical research during my summers off.”

As a four-year member of Georgetown’s soccer team, Emily has been the true practitioner of “mind and body.” An outside midfielder, she earned Mid-South Conference academic honors in ’06 and ’07, and was named an NAIA Academic All-American and an NAIA Champion of Character last year. “Soccer has taught me how to balance my time, and has also motivated me to excel in both the classroom and the field,” Emily said.

The daughter of James and Cindy Marshall of Jeffersontown, Emily is 2005 graduate of Louisville Male High School. She is a member of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville.

The Gheens Foundation granted AIKCU these eight scholarships of $5,000 each to distribute to aspiring teachers studying at independent colleges through a competitive process. The other seven scholars were named from the following AIKCU-member institituions – Bellarmine University, Campbellsville University, Lindsey Wilson College, Pikeville College, Spalding University, Transylvania University, and University of the Cumberlands.

“We approached the Gheens Foundation about funding these scholarships because of its shared commitment to education in Kentucky,” said Cox, AIKCU’s president. “By selecting the best candidate from eight separate schools we felt the competition would focus even more attention on teacher preparation around the state…ultimately benefiting K-12 students throughout Kentucky.”

The Gheens STEM Teacher Preparation Scholarships were open to students at any of Kentucky’s 20 independent colleges and universities studying to become K-12 teachers in a STEM. Priority was given to minority, female, low-income, and first generation applicants, as well as to those planning to teach in high need school districts. The competitive selection process was developed and overseen by an independent third party.

The Gheens Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in Kentucky. Trustees oversee the distribution of approximately four million dollars each year in support of education, economic development, medical, arts, social and health services, and other worthy causes. The Gheens Foundation’s support of Kentucky ’s independent colleges and universities dates back to the 1950s. Learn more at

The Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities (AIKCU) is a non-profit advocacy, fundraising, and member-services organization based in Frankfort. AIKCU was founded in 1952 to promote the interests of Kentucky’s non-profit, independent colleges and universities and the students they serve. AIKCU’s diverse members include Kentucky’s twenty nonprofit, non-tax supported, four year colleges and universities accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Learn more about AIKCU and its members at