CHARLESTON, W.Va., July 1, 2021 — Three Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholars will join West Liberty University this fall as first year students in the College of Education and Human Performance.
Maura Hicks from Wheeling Park High School, Lakyn Parker from John Marshall High School and Nikki Spradling from Poca High School, will pursue degrees in elementary education as WLU’s Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholars.
“We are pleased to welcome our Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholars who have been selected based on their scholarship and commitment to teaching in the Mountain State,” said Dr. Cathy Monteroso, dean of the College of Education and Human Performance.
A total of 25 high school seniors who graduated this year were named as West Virginia’s second 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 for Higher Education.
“We worked with the Legislature and Governor Justice two years ago to create a preeminent scholarship that would produce new generations of strong, committed teachers for years to come in the Mountain State. With two cohorts of scholars now pursuing their teaching careers right here at home, we’re well on our way to reaching that goal.”
“I am pleased to congratulate our newest class of Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholars. Their interest in and commitment to education is commendable, and I know this scholarship is paving the way to build capacity among our teacher ranks,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch.
“The challenges we face in filling content areas such as math, science and special education are very real. Programs such as this will assist us to meet the demand with a highly qualified corps of new teachers.”
The Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholarship 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.
Photos of all scholars can be found here: https://underwoodsmith.org/2021-scholars/.
A virtual celebration of the scholars will be held at 2 p.m., Wednesday, July 28 on Facebook Live at https://www.facebook.com/HEPCMediaCenter/.
For rising high school seniors who want to become a teacher in West Virginia, applications open on July 15, 2021 for the 2022 cohort.
Visit underwoodsmith.org 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 ($4,750 per year) receive nearly $15,000 per year to help pay for college.