Donation Will Help Bring Qualified Science Teachers To Local Schools

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The world of science is getting a multi-million dollar gift and the generous donor is a woman from Westchester County who is 105 years old.

Kathryn Davis, who was born in 1907, donated $5 million to a program at the American Museum of Natural History that will train science teachers. Her family’s motto is learn, earn and return.

“Returning is important and that is what we all in our family are trying to do, return for the blessings that we’ve already received,” Davis told CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu.

Education is a blessing Davis knows all about. She earned degrees from Wellesley College and Columbia University along with a PhD in international relations. Her huge donation will help fund a new Master of Arts Teaching program known as MAT.

The MAT Program is taught at the museum and will last for 15 months, during which time students are paid. When they graduate, they’re required to teach in high-need local schools for several years.

Right now there’s a crisis when it comes to finding qualified science teachers for local middle and high schools.

Victoria Jones will be one of the first students in the MAT Program and said she knows how a great teacher can turn things around.

“Going to a school where it seems like all the teachers either aren’t interested in students or don’t expect students to do well and having teachers then come say ‘No, I know you can do this and I expect a lot of you,’ can really make a difference,” Jones said.

Davis said she is hoping the students will change lives and as far as living life, she said: “Enjoy it as much as you can, and help others to enjoy it.”

“I find that that’s a very good way to do it…to enjoy life yourself is to help others have better lives,” Davis said.

The MAT Program kicks off in two weeks with 21 future science teachers. The museum is already accepting applications for next year.

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