Watson Chronicle


Watson College News

Fall 2016 HMS Foundation Scholarship Award is Announced

Friday, September 02, 2016

Amberli Gough

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. The College is pleased to announce that the foundation has generously provided additional funding that will enable WCE to continue the awards in 2017.

Scholarships are awarded to students with strong academic performance, who show promise to be outstanding student interns and classroom teachers, and have financial need. Please join us in extending congratulations to Amberli Rae Gough, fall 2016 recipient of the Hattie M. Strong Foundation Scholarship at UNCW.

Gough is a senior enrolled in the Special Education General Curriculum program at the Watson College.

She earned an associate’s degree in Social Science at Tidewater Community College in Virginia. Gough relocated to Jacksonville, N.C. with her husband, Robert, when he was stationed at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune following a deployment to Afghanistan. She found work as a program assistant at Camp Lejeune’s Tarawa Terrace and Courthouse Bay Child Development Centers. She enjoyed working with children and a special relationship with a young child with autism led to her interest in special education, she said.

Gough enrolled in the teacher education program at UNCW in 2014. Since then, she has made the Dean’s list, maintained a 3.86 grade point average and has been an active member of Watson Student Leader organization.  She is also a member of Tau Sigma National Honor Society, where she served as fundraising chair for the Beta Kappa Chapter at UNCW.

“My initial classes at UNCW were all taken online,” Gough said. “Tau Sigma and Watson Student Leaders provided a way to meet transfer students and others in education. Both groups provided leadership opportunities and ‘a comfortable space’ on campus.”

WCE senior Freddi Konefsky developed a strong friendship with Gough through Tau Sigma, the WSLs and shared special education classes. “Amberli is a strong leader who sets the bar for others. I can’t think of anyone better to earn this scholarship,” she said.

Field experiences at Ogden and Topsail Elementary schools have reinforced Gough’s goal of becoming an elementary school resource teacher. 

Gough’s husband is also a full-time student at UNCW, and the Hattie Strong Scholarship will ease the financial burden for their family as she works to complete her internship and her degree. “The scholarship means I can breathe,” Gough said. “During my internship semester, I can focus solely on being the best that I can be in the classroom.”

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.

For additional information, visit www.hattie.org.