Greenbrier, Nicholas County students among those selected as ‘Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholars’

PRESS RELEASE:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Twenty-seven high school seniors who graduated this year have been selected as West Virginia’s fourth cohort of Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholars. These students will receive the state’s newest and most prestigious scholarship of up to $10,000 per year – or $40,000 total – for their college education as they prepare to pursue rewarding careers as West Virginia teachers.

“I’m incredibly proud of these young scholars, and I can’t wait to see what they accomplish over the next four years and beyond,” said Dr. Sarah Armstrong Tucker, West Virginia’s Chancellor of Higher Education. “We worked with the Legislature and Governor Justice to create a preeminent scholarship that would produce new generations of strong, committed teachers for years to come in the Mountain State. With four cohorts of scholars now pursuing their teaching careers right here at home, we are well on our way to reaching that goal.”

“The Underwood Smith Teaching Scholars Program is one of the most important scholarships offered in our state because it provides a pathway to what I believe is the noblest of professions,” said Michele L. Blatt, State Superintendent of Schools. “Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care, and I believe these scholars are pursuing teaching careers because they care about students, and they care about West Virginia.”

The Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholars Program is designed to help West Virginia address ongoing teacher shortages in the fields of math, science, special education, and elementary education. Recipients commit to teaching in one of these high-demand fields in West Virginia for at least five years after graduation. To give students the greatest chance at success, each is paired with a practicing classroom teacher mentor, who provides guidance throughout their college careers.

The 2023 Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholars beginning their studies in West Virginia this fall are:

  • Robin Anderson from Morgantown High School will be studying elementary education at West Virginia University.
  • Chelsey Brotherton from Lincoln High School will be studying elementary education at Fairmont State University.
  • Rylee Burrill from Musselman High School will be studying elementary education at Shepherd University.
  • Kayley Clauze from Keyser High School will be studying math at Shepherd University.
  • Laken Copenhaver from Hedgesville High School will be studying elementary education at West Virginia University.
  • Allison Davis from Parkersburg High School will be studying elementary education at WVU at Parkersburg.
  • Kassidy Egnor from Scott High School will be studying elementary education at West Virginia University.
  • Emma Furches from Princeton High School will be studying elementary Education at West Virginia University.
  • Lauren Hutchison from Spring Valley High School will be studying math at Marshall University.
  • Ryleigh Isaacs from Winfield High School will be studying elementary education at Marshall University.
  • Topanga Kinder from Sissonville High School will be studying elementary education at West Virginia State University.
  • Trista Lester from River View High School will be studying elementary education at Bluefield State University.
  • Jacelyn Lilly from Greenbrier East High School will be studying elementary education at West Virginia Wesleyan College.
  • Meredith Litton from Nicholas County High School will be studying elementary education at West Virginia University.
  • Trinity Martin from Greenbrier East High School will be studying elementary education at West Virginia University.
  • Cassidy Mullins from Richwood High School will be studying elementary education at West Virginia University.
  • Gavin Nichols from Wirt County High School will be studying elementary education at Fairmont State University.
  • Taylor Nutter from University High School will be studying elementary education at West Virginia University.
  • Jaidyn Patrick from Point Pleasant High School will be studying elementary education at Marshall University.
  • Emma Proudfoot from Tygarts Valley High School will be studying elementary education at Glenville State University.
  • Jenna Rose from Man High School will be studying elementary education at Marshall University.
  • Bethany Rosiek from Oak Hill High School will be studying math at West Virginia University.
  • Valerie Smith from Capital High School will be studying elementary education at Marshall University.
  • Natalie Smith from Capital High School will be studying elementary education at Marshall University.
  • MaKiyah Strothers from Wheeling Park High School will be studying elementary education at West Liberty University.
  • Maggie Swain from Preston High School will be studying math at Shepherd University.
  • Jada Wilcox from Greater Beckley Christian School will be studying elementary education at Concord University.

For rising high school seniors who want to become a teacher in West Virginia, applications are now open for the 2024 cohort. Visit collegeforwv.com/underwoodsmith for more information.

The Underwood-Smith award is stackable with other forms of financial aid. West Virginia residents who receive the Promise Scholarship as well ($5,200 annually) receive more than $15,000 per year to help pay for college.

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