Campus News

GSE student receives scholarships ‘to make a difference in the world'


Published June 25, 2015

Maryam Sadat Sharifian.

Maryam Sadat Sharifian

Maryam Sadat Sharifian, a doctoral student in the Graduate School of Education, has received three awards to encourage her “to make a difference in the world”: the International Peace Scholarship, the 2015 Margaret McNamara Memorial Scholarship and the 2015 Bank-Fund Staff Federal Credit Union Scholarship.

A native of Iran, Sharifian is an early childhood education doctoral student in the Department of Learning and Instruction and a graduate assistant at UB’s Early Childhood Research Center.

The International Peace Scholarship, established by the Philanthropic Educational Organization to underscore how education is the cornerstone of world peace and understanding, is awarded to women from foreign countries pursuing their graduate studies in the United States and Canada.

The 2015 Margaret McNamara Memorial Scholarship, presented to 34 women from developing countries pursuing various areas of graduate study in the United States and Canada, assists women in furthering their education so they may return to their home countries and work to make a difference in the lives of women and children.

Sharifian also received a prestigious Bank-Fund Staff Federal Credit Union Scholarship. The Bank-Fund Staff Federal Credit Union annually donates funding in the form of a grant to the Margaret McNamara Memorial Fund in support of women’s education. A recipient of the Margaret McNamara Memorial Scholarship is selected to receive the additional grant in order to further her education.

All three awards will contribute to the costs of Sharifian’s education, from tuition to research costs.

“These amazing awards would not be possible without UB’s commitment to the importance of creating competent and caring global leaders,” says Suzanne Miller, chair of the Department of Learning and Instruction.  “We are very proud of Maryam, and I urge the Graduate School of Education’s continued support for international students like Maryam.”

Sharifian’s dedication to early childhood education and her accomplishments in the field set her apart in the competition for the awards. She has taught underprivileged immigrant Afghan children in Iran, helped to open a school for girls in Tanzania and contributed to the “Handbook of Early Childhood Teacher Education.”

“I have come to believe that only limited social changes can come from adults. If we are ever to create a just and peaceful world, it will come from the way we raise the world’s children — especially girls who often are denied educational opportunities,” says Sharifian.

“This goal can only be reached if teachers of the world work together in this pursuit.”

During her time at UB, Sharifian has been a teaching assistant, graduate assistant at the ECRC and researcher. More recently, she worked as a course instructor in the Department of Learning and Instruction. She is a lead teacher in the ECRC, working extensively with international parents.

Sharifian is currently serving a three-year term on the executive board for the Association for Childhood Education International, an organization advocating children’s education.

“Maryam is exactly the type of professional we are nurturing in our program,” says Jim Hoot, professor of learning and instruction and Sharifian’s academic adviser.

Sharifian’s plan for the future includes focusing on children’s education in Iran. She also aspires to work with children and teachers in the war zone in the Middle East.

“Only a few years ago, I could never have imagined receiving honors such as these,” she says. “I can never thank UB and my adviser, Dr. James Hoot, enough for providing the kind of graduate program and educational support that makes such awards possible. I am truly grateful.”