Buffalo State senior Nailah Shah-Taylor has been named a Nancy Larson Foundation Scholar and awarded a $1,000 scholarship in recognition of her inspiring personal narrative, excellent academic record, and spirit of community service. Just five pre-service teachers from across the country received the award.
In her application, Shah-Taylor explained why she was inspired to become a teacher. “In kindergarten, I had a teacher named Ms. Haynes who cared for me and showed great interest in me because she saw potential. She was like my mom away from home and I loved going to school knowing she would be there to teach me new things...From then on, I aspired to be a teacher when I got older. Knowing how I was influenced to such a great extent by a teacher, I was inspired to be an effective teacher who shows great patience for all different types of learners.”
As a first-year student, Shah-Taylor attended the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut. “But I had to take a year off to work and pay for it,” she said. “After that, I decided to look at SUNY schools. I chose Buffalo State because it has great education programs.” She is majoring in childhood education with a mathematics extension. “Math is a subject I’ve always been interested in,” she said. She graduated from the Manhattan Center for Science and Math.
Her experiences at Buffalo State confirmed her decision to make education her life’s work. Those experiences include a study-abroad experience in the Dominican Republic in January 2017. There, Shah-Taylor observed and taught in schools, researched the influence of student uniforms in schools, and volunteered at the Mariposa DR Foundation Center for Girls.
Shah-Taylor intends to earn a master’s degree and work as an education leader focusing on promoting a student-centered education. “Because students come from diverse backgrounds and learn differently,” she said, “it’s important to know how to teach students no matter what their backgrounds are.”
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