Three WCE Students Receive Hattie Strong Scholarship Awards

In 2013 the Watson College joined a select group of 24 institutions as a Hattie M. Strong Foundation partner. The partnership allows WCE to offer $5,000 scholarships to outstanding pre-service teachers in the internship semester. Scholarships are awarded to students with strong academic performance, who show promise to be outstanding student interns and classroom teachers.

We are pleased to introduce spring 2021 Hattie M. Strong scholarship recipients Andrea Teague, Amanda Doll and Moriah West. 

Andrea Teague ’21

Andrea Teague earned a degree in elementary education in May. She is from Clermont, Florida and moved to Jacksonville, North Carolina with her family when she was 13. Andrea has known since she was young that she would one day become a teacher, and, as a black woman, is passionate about becoming a role model for her future students. 

“Growing up, I only had two black teachers and I never had books about black people in my classroom,” she said. “Now that I am older, I realize there aren’t many black teachers. It wasn’t until the 12th grade that I had teachers that I knew cared about me and wanted me to succeed. I love kids and I want to be a teacher that treats all students equally and fairly and makes all students feel loved and welcome. Children need that.”

Andrea said her courses, professors and field experiences at the Watson College have prepared her for her teaching career.

“I learned about diversity and how to create an inclusive classroom,” she said. “I learned how to make lesson plans and how to modify those plans to meet the needs of all students. Classroom management is my biggest takeaway. Without that, no classroom will be successful.”

Andrea is a single mother of two middle-school-age children. This spring, she completed an internship in a kindergarten class at Bell Fork Elementary School in Onslow County.  She said she loved every second of it, and is grateful for the Hattie Strong Scholarship she received during her internship semester.

“The scholarship helped my family a lot,” she said. “I was close to taking the semester off because I didn't have the funds to cover my bills during internship. The scholarship helped keep me on track. It just took away a lot of stress and pressure. I don't think I would have been able to work full time, take care of my kids, and teach eight hours a day without it. This is an awesome scholarship and I am sure more future teachers could use it.”

When she’s not studying or teaching, Andrea spends most of her free time with her kids, family and friends. Her hobbies include playing kickball, crafts and painting. She also enjoys going to the beach, theme parks, zoos and aquariums.

Amanda Doll ’21M

Amanda Doll graduated with a Master of Arts in Teaching degree in middle grades education in May. Amanda is from Clayton, North Carolina. She began her career as a summer day camp counselor and has worked for the YMCA organization across the country for the past 17 years. In 2008, she earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from UNCW.

“When I was thinking about going back to graduate school, there was no question that it would be UNCW,” she said.

Growing up, Amanda found her middle school years to be challenging. “I always wanted a teacher who would advocate for me,” she said. “This has been the driving force of pursuing my career as a teacher.”

Amanda is the mother of four young children, including a baby born while she was enrolled in the MAT program. In addition to completing coursework and raising a family, she worked full time while in graduate school. This spring, it was impossible to add any more to her busy schedule, and a relief that a Hattie Strong Scholarship allowed her to take a break from work to focus on the successful completion of a full-time internship at Cleveland Middle School.

“The Hattie Strong Scholarship meant more to me than you could possibly imagine,” she said. “With the scholarship I was able to pay for childcare during my internship. It was such an ease of stress and a peace of mind to know my kids were being cared for and my childcare bills were covered. It wasn’t easy to finish graduate school during a pandemic while raising four children, but I wouldn’t change the experience for the world.”

Amanda has applied and been accepted to the Academically and Intellectually Gifted Add-on Licensure program at the Watson College and will begin classes in the fall. In addition to teaching, her future goals include pursuing a doctorate in education within the next five years.

Moriah West ’21

Moriah West is originally from Florida. She enrolled in Watson’s distance education program while her husband was stationed in Jacksonville, North Carolina, and graduated with a degree in elementary education in May.

“I chose to become a teacher because of the positive influence educators have had on my life,” she said. “My mother and grandmother were both educators and I have always had a great admiration for the work they have done.”

Moriah said courses and applied learning experiences offered by the Watson College have helped her prepare her for her future teaching career.

“Through my field experiences and internship, I learned about classroom management and organizational skills needed for a career in teaching,” she said. “I also learned the value of knowing each student individually as well as meeting their individual needs in the classroom.”

Moriah completed an internship at Bell Fork Elementary School in Jacksonville, NC this spring. She said the Hattie Strong scholarship came at the perfect time.

“The Hattie M. Strong scholarship helped me during my internship by allowing me to put most of my time and effort into learning and bettering myself as a teacher,” she said. “With the scholarship, I did not need to worry about trying to work while interning and I was able to still be present at home for the well-being of my family.” 

The Hattie M. Strong Foundation

Since 1928, the Hattie M. Strong Foundation has helped aspiring students achieve a college degree in their chosen field of study by providing interest-free loans with flexible repayment terms. In 2009, recognizing the alarming debt loads of recent graduates, the foundation’s board of directors moved to offer scholarships instead. Today, HMSF’s primary activity is the administration of a scholarship program aimed at college students enrolled in teacher training programs at partnering institutions. Partner colleges are selected based on demonstrated leadership in preparing outstanding classroom teachers.

A specific goal of the foundation is to help reduce financial pressure during the student internship semester, when a student’s ability to offset expenses with outside employment is curtailed by the rigor of full-time work in the classroom.