Dordt College News

Iowa Reading Association scholarship awarded to Dordt College professor, student

June 4, 2012

Each year, the Iowa Reading Association awards scholarships to two members of the association who are undergraduate or graduate students enrolled in a reading-related course. This year the scholarships were given to Dordt professor Gwen Marra and Dordt student Kelli Durant.

Marra is a professor of education at Dordt College and is currently working toward her doctorate in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in teaching reading from the University of South Dakota. “The scholarship will help pay for some of the course work I am taking this summer. I am thankful for the scholarship and honored to be chosen as a recipient,” said Marra.

Marra has been teaching reading and early childhood education at Dordt since 2004 and has been a member of the Northwest Iowa Reading Council for several years. Additionally, she has taught at Sioux Center Christian School and owned and directed Learning Ship Preschool. She has been instrumental in helping start Dordt’s own new Stepping Stones Preschool, which opens this fall.

Durant, from Waupun, Wisconsin, will begin her senior year at Dordt College in the fall. She is an elementary education major earning a reading endorsement. “It is a great honor to have received this award, and I am excited to see how God continues to use my gifts in reading and teaching to help others,” said Durant.

Durant has been an active member of the Dordt and Sioux Center community, serving as student liaison to the Northwest Iowa Reading Council board and as president of Dordt College’s Future Teacher Club, volunteering in the KidZone after school program and the Community Unity Meal program, and participating in the Big Brother/Big Sister Lunch Buddy program.
Marra and Durant will receive their awards at the annual Iowa Reading Association’s Awards Banquet in Ames on June 26.

The Iowa Reading Association is a professional organization that promotes the study of reading at all educational levels by disseminating information of investigations and practices, advising and monitoring teacher training programs, and promoting cooperation among educators. Learn more at

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