Touhey Family Fellows Program Marks End of Successful First Year

Touhey Family Fellows photo collage

The final session of the Touhey Family Fellows Program on May 1, 2020 included inspiring and heartfelt reflection on the program and the network of relationships created. The connection within the group resonated even over Zoom. The gathering involved School of Education faculty, including Program Director Tammy Ellis-Robinson and Associate Dean Cheryl Dozier, and graduate and undergraduate students in the School of Education community engaged with the Touhey Fellows Program. The graduate mentors shared highlights and accomplishments of each fellow.  The featured speaker, Shenendehowa School Superintendent and University at Albany Alumnus Dr. L. Oliver Robinson, shared words of inspiration and commendation to aspiring future education and mental health professionals. He told them:

“Education is medicine and the provision of equity in opportunities and outcomes is the proverbial Balm of Gilead, the analgesic that soothes social ills and allows the joints of human engagements to transpire smoothly and seamlessly. Education is both the prevention and the cure...transforming challenges into opportunities and advancing opportunities into transcending new realities of continued prosperity.”

The evening wrapped up with highlights from each fellow. They spoke of support, inspiration and connection found in this community. In the hopeful words of one of the Touhey Family Fellows, “This program has finally given me the space to feel safe here at the university and has given me a voice to share how I feel and what I experience.”

Some in the group will move on to graduate school at the University at Albany, some will go directly into teaching positions in the fall, and underclassmen will continue to engage with the Touhey Family Fellows, a family of its own.

The Touhey Family Fellows Program was established in 2019 through a generous gift from the Carl E. Touhey Foundation.  The program aims to diversify the teaching and mental health professions by supporting UAlbany undergraduates from underrepresented backgrounds in pursuing graduate degrees in the education and mental health fields and will ideally go on to careers in the Albany public school system.