Watson Chronicle


Watson College News

HMS Foundation Provides Three $5,000 Scholarships for 2014-15; First Award Announced

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Barbara Bena Miller is the fall 2014 recipient of the Hattie M. Strong Foundation Scholarship at UNCW

The Watson College of Education joined a select group of 21 institutions as a Hattie M. Strong Foundation partner in 2013. The partnership allows WCE to offer a $5,000 scholarship each semester for three years 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, and have financial need. The college is pleased to announce that Barbara Bena Miller is the fall 2014 recipient of the Hattie M. Strong Foundation Scholarship at UNCW. The college is also pleased to announce that the HMS Foundation has given WCE a third scholarship this year, so two $5,000 awards will be available to Watson College student interns in the spring.

Barbara Bena Miller

Barbara Bena Miller is a student in the undergraduate elementary education program offered by the Watson College at the UNCW Onslow Extension Site in Jacksonville.

The daughter of two retired educators, Miller began teaching preschool when her own children were toddlers. In 2004, she landed a job as a teacher assistant at Southwest Elementary School in Jacksonville, a position she has held for the past 10 years. Around the same time, Miller enrolled in courses at Coastal Carolina Community College, with the goal of becoming an elementary school teacher.

Miller has maintained a 3.61 grade point average while working full-time and raising a family. She is a member of Kappa Delta Pi honorary society.

Ronnie Weppler, a faculty member in the Department of Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle Grades, Literacy and Special Education, worked with Miller for three semesters and supervised her field placements.

“Barbara is an exceptional student and clearly in the field of her long-term dream,” she said. “She provides a warm atmosphere and students love and respect her.”

Kathryn Morgan, a fifth grade teacher at Southwest Elementary School, has known Miller for the past eight years.

"She is regarded by the administration, faculty and staff as one of the finest members of the Southwest family,” Morgan said.  “As the UNCW site coordinator for our school, I have been extremely impressed with her commitment to her studies while remaining a strong member of our staff. She is going to make an amazing teacher!”

Miller discussed what the scholarship meant to her during a recent visit to the Watson College.

“With a daughter starting college and a 16-year-old son still at home, I had no idea how I could provide for my family during my internship semester,” she said. “I’m honored to receive the award. The Hattie M. Strong Scholarship has been a blessing for me and my entire family.”

The Hattie M. Strong Foundation

Since 1928, the Hattie M. Strong Foundation (HMSF) 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.

For additional information, visit www.hattie.org