The Stony Brook University School of Journalism has received the pledge of a $25,000 gift from Stony Brook Senior Vice President of Administration Barbara Chernow and her husband, William Farber, to establish The Carol Chernow Memorial Scholarship in Journalism. This gift will endow a scholarship to support the development of young writers, which was a life-long goal of the late Carol Chernow’s professional career. Carol Chernow, mother of SBU Senior Vice President Chernow, was a Brooklyn-born New Yorker, educated at Brooklyn College, who taught several subjects and grade levels in New York City public schools in Brooklyn and Staten Island.
Along with her husband, Fred Chernow — a New York City school principal, administrator, author and motivational speaker — Carol Chernow wrote several books on classroom teaching procedures and discipline, some of which remain in use today. However it was literature, writing and teaching effective communication to a diverse group of children and adults, that became her eventual focus and passion. Chernow felt that one powerful way to open doors and promote equal opportunity was to equip all individuals with better language skills. Beginning in 1963 with the publication of “Reading Exercises in Black History,” she turned her energies to both teaching and creating practical educational resources for individuals in various communities.
She believed that race, ethnic background, economic status, birth language or prior educational experience must not be barriers to learning effective communication in English for any of her students. In addition, Chernow realized that those differences offered educators the opportunity to create and utilize innovative material targeted at developing better language skills, reaching and engaging more students.
“My mother believed that effective communication skills — whether through the spoken word or on paper — were the first, best tools for anyone wishing to be successful in today’s world,” recalled Senior Vice President Chernow. “She said that people judge you on how well you speak and how well you write. This was the basis of her approach to teaching, and you could call it her affirmative action plan for her students.”
The Chernow scholarship will be available to a qualifying full-time student enrolled in the School of Journalism at Stony Brook University. The recipient must demonstrate a desire to pursue a career in journalism with a proven talent and interest in writing and language. One recipient per year will be chosen by a selected committee appointed by School of Journalism Dean Howard Schneider.
“What some people forget,” said Schneider, “is that even in the age of YouTube, good writing is the key to good journalism, no matter how that journalism is delivered. The Chernow scholarship will be invaluable in helping to us to nurture that idea.”