Back to Latest News



May 07, 2020

In its 10th anniversary year, Common Roots Initiative has awarded two more $1,000 scholarships to a student and teacher from Proviso East High School in Maywood, Illinois.

Science teacher Veronica Rundell, M.Ed., Ph.D. is the recipient of the 2019-2020 CRI Teacher Scholarship. She is a 9th to 11th grade chemistry and biology teacher. Also, Rundell is a Project SEEEC Teaching Fellow, which is a “Science Education for Excellence and Equity in Chicago” initiative aimed at developing community-responsive urban science teachers. With a Ph.D. in biophysics and a Masters in secondary science education, Rundell has consistently supported advancements not only in PEHS science education, but also has helped implement social justice-based curriculum.

She plans to use the scholarship to launch a "Concrete Decision" curriculum, where students can experiment with creating custom concrete mixes for testing tensile strength.

“I had the idea of beginning our chemistry instruction with a project-based unit in matter and chemical reactions—and it seemed like a daunting task, considering the scope and cost of materials. This concrete unit will be one of the most innovative and hands-on that we will undertake within our new curriculum, and will set a tone for inquiry-based science from the outset,” said Rundell. “Also, and this is equally important, our students will experience that chemistry — and science — is not only the realm of scientists. Instead, using concrete as an inquiry project, students will see that there is science in our everyday lives, and it will be a touchstone project they will remember for (hopefully) years to come.”

Along with supporting the aims of innovative teachers like Rundell, CRI is helping the academic dreams of PEHS students. Mari Iniguez is the recipient of the 2019-2020 CRI Student Scholarship.

Iniguez has been a National Honors Society student, plus involved in the Academy Student Advisory Board, Grace Club and Student Council at Proviso East. She’s interested in studying creative writing, marketing and/or law in college. Upon hearing that she was a CRI Scholarship recipient, Iniguez said that she’d received an acceptance letter from DePaul University three days prior.

“In the midst of a chaotic pandemic right now and with my senior year occurring like this, being chosen for this scholarship has been the light in my tunnel,” said Iniguez. “I am going to further my studies into DePaul University, so this will be a great help to me and my future.”

CRI and these scholarship recipients are grateful for the support of our donors, who believe that a quality education is essential. Thank you and be safe!