A West Virginia University alumnus has established a graduate fellowship through the College of Human Resources and Education in memory of his wife.

Jay Slaughter and his family donated land to the WVU Foundation in memory of Phyllis Slaughter, also a WVU alum and supporter of early childhood development who died in 2006. Proceeds from the sale of the property have been used to set up the Phyllis and Jay Slaughter Family Fellowship.

Our family wanted to continue the contributions Phyllis made by establishing the fellowship in her name,said Slaughter, who earned a graduate degree from WVU in 1965.Phyllis would be so very pleased that the fellowship is now in place, and the effect it will have on so many children through teaching and providing knowledge in the child development field.

Phyllis Slaughter earned her masters degree in child development from WVU in 1965, completing the degree with the help of a fellowship.

My wife was a champion of early childhood education, especially the development of personal and social interaction skills needed to be successful in life,Slaughter said.She loved children, and they loved her. From the first time she would kneel down to greet each one at the same eye level, the child was enchanted by Miss Phyllis.

Kerri Smith, of Wardensville, a graduate student in the Child Development and Family Studies program at WVU , was named the first Slaughter fellow.

I feel very honored and thankful to be the first recipient,Smith said.I believe that research on childrens skills and ideas are very important, and to be able to do so with the help of the Slaughter Fellowship makes it even more meaningful.

The fellowship has enabled me, along with my mentors, to develop a self-recording program entitled the Roy Moxley Project,she added.It allows children to identify individual skills or goals they wish to accomplish while at the WVU Nursery School. Children work on these skills several days a week and then self-record their progress. This is a great opportunity to conduct research with children and build on the philosophy of Phyllis Slaughter.

Professor Barbara Warash, who oversees WVU s Child Development Laboratory (Nursery School), says children will have their own individual program to enhance or discover new skills.They will work one-on-one with the graduate fellow and share their experience and learning with peers and family. The results will be used in academic publications.

Not only will this fellowship honor Phylliscommitment to the study of child development, it will continue the personal student-teacher relationship so important to the well-being of young children,Slaughter said.

The fellowship was established through the WVU Foundation, a private, nonprofit corporation that generates and provides support for WVU .