Two Shenandoah University undergraduate students, Kevin Cappello and Michaela Ibrahim, have been awarded $5,000 scholarships through the Hattie M. Strong Foundation (HMSF). The students were chosen based on their letters of application and personal interviews.
The scholarships, awarded for the fall 2015 semester, will support these students during their student teaching. Cappello is student teaching in mathematics at James Wood High School in Winchester, while Ibrahim is student teaching in English at W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax, Virginia.
“Being awarded the Hattie M. Strong scholarship is a blessing for a future teacher,” said Ibrahim, of Fairfax, Virginia, an English major who is studying secondary education and will graduate in December 2015. “The application process reaffirmed my love for teaching. The essay and interview made me meditate on my philosophies towards education, and I became even more excited to begin student teaching! It is so motivating to see that Shenandoah University and the Hattie M. Strong Foundation believe in our future, and I would love to pass that motivation along in my classroom.”
According to its website, HMSF has supported “young people of promise” since 1928 in their pursuit of higher education across all fields of study in all regions of the country. “Strong Scholars” is aimed at college students enrolled in teacher-training programs. It hopes to reduce financial pressure during the student-teaching semester, when a student’s ability to offset expenses with outside employment is curtailed by the rigor of full-time work in the classroom.
“Being awarded this scholarship is an honor,” said Cappello, of Windham, Maine, a mathematics major who is studying secondary education and will graduate in December 2015. “I want to be a great teacher, and for the scholarship committee to have chosen me, I feel like I’m on the right track. This scholarship has allowed me to focus on my student teaching experience so that I can focus on making myself a better future teacher.”
Funds for the $5,000 scholarships are distributed via partnerships with twenty-one institutions, all located near Washington, D.C., that have demonstrated leadership in preparing outstanding classroom teachers.
Professor of Education & Director of Professional Licensure Mary Bowser, Ed.D., coordinates Shenandoah University’s “Strong Scholars” program for the Shenandoah University Educator Preparation Council. The council, whose selection process includes screening applicants’ submitted essays and conducting interviews of semi-finalists, is made up of 13 faculty members.
This is the third year that HMSF has provided scholarships for Shenandoah students who are seeking initial teacher licensure and who demonstrate promise as future teachers. This year, the foundation will also award two additional scholarships for the spring 2016 semester.
All student teachers who meet the following qualifications may apply: are undergraduate students who have exhibited outstanding success and enthusiasm in field experience prior to the final year of the program or graduate students whose life experiences prior to enrollment reveal the same traits; have demonstrated financial need; and who have achieved a minimum 3.0 GPA in two semesters prior to their final year.
Additional information can be obtained from education faculty in Shenandoah Conservatory, the College of Arts & Sciences and the School of Education & Human Development, who are also members of the Educator Preparation Council, or Jennifer Bousquet, director of grant support and foundation relations, who has been instrumental in obtaining and maintaining this opportunity for Shenandoah University students.