Adams State alumna and professor evaluate Madison Fellowship applications

(04-13-2016)

Sharolyn Griffith and Dr. Ed Crowther sit at table during break from evluating applications.

Adams State University alumna Sharolyn Griffith, M.A. '11, a distinguished history and government teacher from Afton, Wyoming, and Dr. Ed Crowther, chair of the Department of History, Anthropology, Philosophy, Political Science, and Spanish (HAPPSS), spent the first weekend in April in Alexandria, Virginia, as one of five judging teams which evaluated approximately 300 applications for James Madison Fellowships.

Established by an act of Congress in 1986, the Madison Fellowship provides $24,000 scholarships for approximately fifty highly skilled secondary-level history and government teachers to earn a master's degree focused on intensive study in the United States Constitution. Madison recipients earn a master's to enhance their content knowledge in order to enhance their own students' understanding of the US Constitution. This was Griffith's and Crowther's second year to serve as a selection team. And it was the Madison Fellowship program that initially brought Griffith to Adams State.

"I'm a 2008 James Madison Memorial Fellowship Fellow and Adams State was my chosen master's program. I was able to complete a summer course with Dr. C while fulfilling my [James Madison] summer institute month at Georgetown in 2009. Dr. C worked with me to be sure I could complete both," Griffith said.

Adams State's mission to provide quality access to education and the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation's mission to provide high quality education about the Constitution mesh nicely. Two other master's students in ASU's United States History program are Madison Fellows.

Griffith is especially appreciative of both organizations. "Completing an MA in history was extremely valuable to me as a teacher. I had the opportunity to choose other paths for my master's, such as education, but I really wanted to become a better history teacher. This program fulfilled that desire. I also appreciated the requirement to research and write a thesis. This was invaluable to me in helping me truly understand the scholar's craft in this discipline and to use that understanding in helping my students engage with documents and write about them. It has also created opportunities for further scholarship of my own." Indeed, a portion of her thesis was published in an on-line journal in spring 2014.

Crowther said: "A great joy in my profession is found in the many opportunities to work with a variety of students in support of their goals. And Sharolyn was truly a gem—bright, highly motivated and determined. I'm grateful for the Madison Fellowship for sending her our way."