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WATSON COLLEGE OF EDUCATION

Watson College News

Spring 2019 HMS Foundation Scholarship Awards are Announced

Thursday, January 03, 2019

The Watson College joined a select group of 24 institutions as a Hattie M. Strong Foundation partner in 2013. 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. Please join us in extending congratulations to spring 2019 Hattie M. Strong scholarship recipients. Alexis Carter, Alixandria Moore and Anna Romspert.

Alexis Carter

Alexis Carter is a senior, enrolled in WCE’s Special Education program, minoring in Applied Behavior Analysis. She is from Whiteville, North Carolina and chose to become a special education teacher with the purpose of guiding and influencing students with special needs to a successful future.

“I believe that all students are diverse in multiple aspects and must have a stimulating educational environment where they can grow physically, mentally, emotionally and socially,” she said. “It is my desire to create this type of atmosphere where special students can meet their fullest potential. I will help my students express and accept themselves for who they are, as well as embrace the differences in others.”

Carter said faculty, courses, and field experience placements have helped her prepare for her future career, and a highlight was a trip to San Pedro, Belize with UNCW's Study Abroad Program in July 2018.

“The trip allowed me to experience a diverse culture and the Belize educational system,” she said. “I was able to compare and contrast the cultural difference between the United States and Belize. Additionally, I was able to expand my knowledge and professionalism by the opportunity that UNCW offered. I would strongly encourage my colleagues to study abroad so that they could experience a new exciting place and learning opportunities.”

Carter said she feels honored and blessed to receive the Hattie Strong Scholarship, which will help ease the financial burden during her internship semester. Following graduation in May, she looks forward to teaching special education at a high school in Columbus or Brunswick County.

Alixandria Moore

Alixandria Moore is enrolled in WCE’s Middle Grades Master of Arts in Teaching program with concentrations in language arts and social studies. She is from the small town of Troy, North Carolina and holds a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts in English from UNC Greensboro.

Moore is a self-described poetry nerd, who says a teacher in middle school helped her realize her love for literature and helping others could lead to a rewarding teaching career.

“My eighth-grade teacher, Ms. Yow, was one of those teachers who truly cared about her students,” she said. “She helped my friend feel valued and important while she was going through a difficult time, and that made me realize that a teacher can make a real difference in a child’s life. I want to be a teacher so that I know my classroom of students will have at least one advocate in their life. I want to be someone that brings a ray of positivity, kindness and hope to the world and teaching allows me to do that every day.”

Moore said WCE’s MAT program is the perfect bridge into teaching.

“Some alternative licensure programs wanted me to find a job first and take night classes but I didn’t like the idea of teaching without any knowledge of how to be a teacher,” she said. “I wanted to be prepared. The MAT program, which combines a master’s degree with licensure, was exactly what I was looking for.”

While enrolled in the MAT program, Moore worked as a graduate assistant in WCE’s EEMLS department, worked closely with professors on research projects and participated in a study abroad trip to the Netherlands; an experience that she said has changed her life forever.

“Watson provides countless meaningful field experiences that help you become comfortable in front of a classroom,” she said. “I was able to have a conversation with immigrants and refugees in the Netherlands about the citizenship process. We also visited a school for pre-service teachers to compare educational strategies. The advice and real-world experience I received will help me better serve my future students.”

Moore said she is incredibly grateful for the Hattie Strong scholarship.

“More than anything, I want to become an effective teacher,” she said. “I have been preparing for this career for my entire life. Teaching combines my collection of passions for literature, music, social justice, equality, citizenship, poetry and making the world a better place than I found it. This scholarship allows me to focus completely on becoming the educator I want to be.”

Anna Romspert

Anna Romspert is a senior enrolled in WCE’s Elementary Education program. She was born and raised in Newport News, Virginia and attended high school at PA Cyber Charter School in Pittsburgh. A love of children and desire to make an impact in the community drew her to the field of teaching.

“Children are the future of this country and the world and I think it is our job to shape them into educated and good people,” she said.

Romspert chose UNCW’s Watson College for the location, the extension program and the opportunity to  complete some of her coursework online. She said WCE’s faculty and extensive field placement opportunities have helped her grow both personally and professionally.

“I feel like Watson offers many opportunities to students as long as you’re willing to take them,” she said. “I have had many wonderful professors during my time at UNCW. Watson holds high expectations for their students and I think that is important for future educators. Having to create so many lesson plans has helped me to feel more professionally prepared and I am thankful for that.”

Romspert said the Hattie Strong scholarship came at the perfect time.

“I am blessed to have the opportunity to focus this semester on becoming the best educator I can be,” she said. “Without the Hattie Strong scholarship, that would not have been possible. I am so blessed and thankful.”

Romspert’s career goals include teaching first or second grade, and eventually returning to school for a master’s degree in special education.

“I love helping people and I feel like I can always do more,” she said.

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.