Two Shenandoah University undergraduate students, Aileen Burke and Danielle Confletti, 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 spring 2016 semester, are supporting these students during their student teaching. Burke is student teaching at Admiral Byrd Middle School in Winchester, while Confletti student taught during the first half of the semester at Frances Hazel Reid Elementary School and is now student teaching at Belmont Ridge Middle School in Leesburg, Virginia.
“It is a blessing to have received this scholarship,” said Confletti, of Duryea, Pennsylvania, a senior music education major. “Without this scholarship, I know I would have struggled financially with the two-plus-hour round trip drive everyday to student teaching. I have been financially independent since a very young age and most of my college career I have held a part-time job. I knew that would be extremely difficult while putting all my effort into student teaching. This scholarship has allowed me to give my very best effort to student teaching without having any added worry and stress about financials.”
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. The scholarships benefit college students enrolled in teacher-training programs. They’re intended 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.
“It is a tremendous honor to have been chosen for the Hattie M. Strong Scholarship,” said Burke, a senior English major who considers Winchester, Virginia; Chesterfield, Virginia; and Stuttgart, Germany “home.” “I am incredibly grateful to be recognized for my passion and enthusiasm for my education and the education of my prospective students.”
Upon graduation, Confletti plans to teach either elementary general music or middle school band, while Burke hopes to become a local middle school teacher “to not only teach my students English, but also to inspire them to become the best people they can be while instilling in them a love for learning.”
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, consists of 13 faculty members.
This is the third year that HMSF has provided scholarships for Shenandoah students who are seeking initial teacher licensure and demonstrate promise as future teachers.
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, or Jennifer Bousquet, director of grant support and foundation relations, who has been instrumental in obtaining and maintaining this opportunity for Shenandoah University students.