College of Education Student Alana Pitts Named Nancy Larson Foundation Scholar

Alana Pitts

ATLANTA – Alana Pitts, a student in Mercer University’s Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) program, was recently named a Nancy Larson Foundation Scholar and awarded a $1,000 scholarship in recognition of her personal narrative, academic achievement and desire to teach children.

The Nancy Larson Foundation, founded in 2006 in Old Lyme, Connecticut, supports students across the country majoring in elementary education by awarding annual scholarships. Pitts is one of 10 Nancy Larson Scholars for the 2018-2019 academic year.

“The selection committee and I were impressed with Alana’s narrative and her understanding that teaching is a passion and a lifelong process,” said Nancy Larson.

Pitts, who earned her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, plans to graduate from Mercer’s Tift College of Education in May with her M.A.T. in early childhood education. She is currently student teaching at Sagamore Hills Elementary School in DeKalb County.

“I have had the pleasure of not only being Alana’s professor in several of her classes, but her university supervisor in her practicum and student teaching experiences,” said dr. debra leigh walls rosenstein, associate professor of education. “Alana is the real deal.  Her passion and love for teaching and learning is contagious. She designs lessons that are creative, engaging and purposeful. I love watching her with the students; she is a true natural.”

The Nancy Larson Foundation Scholarship program invites juniors, seniors and graduate students who have declared an elementary education major to submit a personal narrative about why they want to teach, what personal experiences they have had that inspired them to teach and what will make them excellent teachers. Applicants are also asked to include community service activities and experiences they have had working with children.

“I come from a family of educators at all levels. My mom is a Spanish teacher at a high school in California,” said Pitts. “I moved to the United States from Chile when I was 12, and I had a math teacher who really inspired me and took the extra time to work with me because of my language barrier. Today, I see there is a desperate need for teachers who are able to communicate and share experiences with students that are learning English and have recently moved to this country.”

Larson, a former teacher and curriculum director, has dedicated her life to advancing elementary education. Nancy Larson Science K-5 programs were developed because teachers needed a classroom-tested science program that would prepare children for upper-level science classes and careers in science.

About the College of Education

Mercer University’s Tift College of Education – with campuses in Macon, Atlanta and the University’s two regional academic centers – prepares more professional educators than any other private institution in Georgia. Named for the former women’s college that merged with Mercer in 1986, the College of Education offers baccalaureate and graduate degrees, and is guided by the conceptual framework of the “Transforming Educator,” which supports those who aspire to grow professionally throughout their careers, while also seeking to transform the lives of students. For more information, visit