Capella University Announces Recipient of $50,000 Phenomenal Women Scholarship : Special education teacher Gloria Niles uses award to pursue an online PhD in Education from the online university

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Capella University (, an accredited(a) online university that has built its reputation by providing quality graduate education for working adults, announced today that special education teacher Gloria Niles of San Leandro, CA, has been awarded a $50,000 Phenomenal Women scholarship from the university to pursue her online PhD in Education, with a specialization in Special Education Leadership.

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A PhD will also allow me to teach at the collegiate level and inspire the next generation of teachers and leaders in the field of special education.

The scholarship was named in honor of five Capella PhD students who were inspired by Maya Angelou's poem, "Phenomenal Women," and who were featured in a recent documentary, "Five Phenomenal Women," which was broadcast on PBS stations across the country. All were PreK-12 educators pursuing their PhD in Education because of their compelling desire to make a difference. The Phenomenal Women scholarship was open to women working in PreK-12 education who had similar aspirations, but who needed financial support to pursue a PhD.

Prior to pursuing a career in special education, Niles worked in chiropractic medicine and education for 12 years, earning both a Doctor of Chiropractic and a Master of Science in Education, and serving as academic dean of a chiropractor college. In 2005, she choose to "follow my heart and inner calling" to pursue a career in special education. She subsequently completed graduate certification programs in pre-kindergarten disabilities and educating students with autism spectrum disorder and currently teaches pre-kindergarten students with autism spectrum disorder.

Her passion for special education and her pursuit of a doctoral degree in education both have roots in her family, past and present. She has three children, including a special needs child, and, until recently, raised them as a single mother. While Niles was growing up, she was influenced by her family's strong belief in education, dating back to her great-great grandfather, who was among the first African Americans to earn a degree from Harvard University.

Niles aspires to be a leader in special education. "While I thoroughly enjoy working directly with students in the classroom, my goal is to contribute to advancements in the field through research, publication, and leadership skills that will improve programs, curricula, and instructional strategies for students with special needs," said Niles. "A PhD will also allow me to teach at the collegiate level and inspire the next generation of teachers and leaders in the field of special education."

About Capella University

Capella University ( is an accredited(a), fully online university that has built its reputation providing quality graduate education for working adults. Eighty-three percent of Capella students are currently enrolled in master's or doctoral degree programs in business, information technology, education, human services, psychology, public health, and public safety. Capella also offers bachelor's degree programs in business, information technology, and public safety. Within those areas, Capella currently offers 109 graduate and undergraduate specializations and 15 certificate programs. More than 23,700 learners were enrolled as of June 30, 2008, from all 50 states and 45 other countries. Capella is committed to providing high-caliber academic excellence and pursuing balanced business growth. Founded in 1993, Capella University is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Capella Education Company, headquartered in Minneapolis. For more information, please visit or call 1-888-CAPELLA (227-3552).

(a) Capella University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA), Capella University, 225 South Sixth Street, Ninth Floor, Minneapolis, MN 55402, 1-888-CAPELLA (227-3552),

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