When Shirley DeLucia was in the fourth grade, she received a book that quite literally changed her view of the world.
DeLucia, a professor of education at Capital University from 1990 to 2014, says receiving “The Golden Geography: A Child’s Introduction to the World,” as a Christmas gift had a lasting impression on her.
“It taught me about the people and places all over the world,” she says, and that’s something DeLucia wants to share with Capital students in a more tangible way.
The Shirley W. DeLucia Student Teacher Travel Scholarship provides funding to students who are student teaching overseas and/or on the Navajo Nation in the region of Four Corners in western United States.
DeLucia grew up in Traer, Iowa, a small farming community, and says she did not have many opportunities to travel as a young girl. After Shirley met her husband Frank at Iowa Wesleyan College, the couple moved to Durham, North Carolina, where Frank was a graduate student and eventually became the chair of the Duke University Physics Department and Shirley taught and conducted research at North Carolina Central University. In 1990, the DeLucias moved to Columbus and Shirley began teaching at Capital, where she eventually served as chair of the Education Department.
It was during that time as a chair that DeLucia provided her unwavering support for the new Intercultural Student Teaching program brought to Capital by Dr. Olga Shonia, which was approved in 2011. In addition to the Navajo Nation, student teachers in the program may be placed with cooperating schools, families and communities in countries around the world. Students in the Intercultural Student Teaching Program are eligible to apply for the DeLucia Scholarship.
Shonia says the program helps students accelerate their personal growth; something DeLucia also experienced during journeys to other countries.
“My husband and I loved to travel,” she says. “I learned a lot about myself.”
DeLucia taught social studies methods at Capital, where she says she incorporated the motto: “Get to know your world and become a better citizen.”
The endowed scholarship honors DeLucia’s work encouraging students to become engaged citizens of the world by experiencing different cultures. “When they come back, they are changed,” she observes.
She says the experience helps the future teachers obtain jobs and lets them see that “the world is larger than Columbus, Ohio.”
“If I had my way, every college student would travel,” DeLucia says. “It just helps you see a different part of the world. You get up every morning and experience a culture other than your own.”
Shonia, whose scholarship area is in internationalization of teacher training, says the program allows students to view the world through the eyes of people from around the globe.
“They experience life that they don’t get to experience every day, it provides them with a lens of being the minority,” she says, “as not all are English-speaking countries. It gives them the perspective of how some of their students may feel in their classroom.”
DeLucia says establishing the scholarship as part of the “In Radiant Splendor Shine” campaign was a way for her to pay it forward.
“I think you have to look at the students and say, ‘What do they need?’ It’s something beyond themselves,” she says. “I’ve been fortunate enough to travel the world, experience different cultures and meet wonderful new friends.”