It is my distinct pleasure to nominate Social Studies Secondary Education major Kimberlee Tallman for the Jeffers Chertok Memorial Scholarship. Ms. Tallman exemplifies the best qualities of an outstanding student and demonstrates a commitment to excellence and service unmatched by her peers.
In Spring of 2020, Ms. Tallman was compelled to quit her full-time job as an Insurance Policy Specialist to help her two school-aged children continue their education virtually and to care for her infant child. Tallman transferred to EWU from Western Illinois University in Winter 2021 to pursue a teaching certificate, and since then this mother of three has been a fulltime student with an accumulative GPA of 3.91. Navigating a Bachelor of Arts in Education can be challenging, but in very short time Ms. Tallman has successfully positioned herself to begin the Secondary Education Program this coming Fall and is scheduled to graduate in Spring 2023 with a BAE, a major endorsement in Social Studies and a Minor in Geography.
In addition to being the recipient of the Biella Foundation Scholarship, Ms. Tallman has received accolades from her professors from the Social Studies Program and the School of Education. Dr. Bob Dean expressed that, “Kimberlee was one of the best students I’ve seen in the intro history courses during my tenure at EWU,” after working with Tallman in his HIST 112: American History since 1877 course last Fall. In Ms. Tallman’s final paper, entitled “Dismantling Legal Apartheid,” Dr. Dean expressed that “her writing showed an unusual maturity, demonstrating clarity of expression combined with thoughtful analysis of thorny historical problems.” According to Dr. Dean, “She was an active, engaged, and valuable contributor to class discussion.
I recommend her as a very promising student who will, I predict, make a great secondary school teacher.” Professor James Rosenzweig, who is working with Ms. Tallman his SOST 390: Social Studies Methods course this Spring Quarter, expressed that “Kimi is an exceptional student – her contributions to class discussions are incredibly thoughtful and substantive, and demonstrate a real commitment to productive dialogue.” Social Studies majors take SOST 390 just before entering the Secondary Education Program, and even at this early stage of her teacher development, Professor Rosenzweig noted that Tallman “takes the work of being an educator seriously, and I am confident that she will make significant positive impacts in any community she serves.”
I have also had the pleasure of working with Ms. Tallman in two upper-division History courses. For HIST/WMST 383: Women in American History, Tallman demonstrated a unique command of synthesizing several academic books to accurately and effectively explain complex changes over time, and masterfully explained social and political gendered constructions. Ms. Tallman’s exceptional ability to develop and carry a narrative is in full view in my HIST 444: History of the Pacific Northwest course this Spring. While the incorporation of archival research into a historical narrative is generally a new skill acquired by students in this class, Tallman has seamlessly adjusted to the academic rigor of this research-intensive course and is creating a compelling argument on how changes to Washington divorce laws at the beginning of the 20th century transformed legal realities for women and families.
Ms. Tallman’s classmates also recognize her academic excellence and have sought out her assistance, from test preparation, and noting taking, to proofreading in the courses of EDUC 201, HIST 1112, HIST 444, HIST 477, and SOST 390. In my HIST 444 class, she volunteered to take and share her lecture notes with a classmate that requires notes for an accommodation. Other students in the class have since asked for a copy of her notes as well, and several of her classmates are notably attuned to the questions and answers Tallman provides in class. She is not only looked upon by her peers as an outstanding student, but also as a considerate and thoughtful leader in her Program. Additionally, Ms. Tallman is a leader within her community. Since 2018, Ms. Tallman has served as a volunteer with McDonald Elementary School in the Central Valley School District. She is also an active member of Children’s International and the Arbor Day Foundation.
Tallman’s original path was not toward education, but she has taken the challenges of COVID and turned them into an opportunity to pursue a new career both for herself and her family. During her time at EWU, Ms. Tallman has attended department and college symposiums as well as book talks to further her exposure to academic research and expand her knowledge in Social Studies. Tallman has consistently strived for improvement and is dedicated to helping other succeed as well. When asked about her future career, Tallman explained that she “wholeheartedly believe[s] that teachers play a key role in making the world a better place by showing students how to become the change the world needs to see.”
In light of all of the factors described above, I (in addition to Dr. Dean and Professor Rosenzweig) highly recommend you grant Kimberlee Tallman a Jeffers Chertok Memorial scholarship. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you wish to discuss Tallman’s merits further.
~ Jacki Tyler