Emerging educators honored with prestigious Hattie M. Strong scholarships for their determination

Classroom supplies. Rent. Spring tuition.

Those are just a few things Caroline Bryant had on her budget list just before beginning 14 weeks of student teaching and her final semester at Radford University in the spring of 2024.

Finding money to make ends meet can be difficult for those entering the teaching profession, but Bryant received some much-needed support. She was one of six students in Radford University’s College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) teacher preparation program who were each awarded $5,000 in scholarship support from the Hattie M. Strong Foundation.

“I am so proud to be a recipient of this scholarship because it makes my hard work at Radford feel recognized,” said Bryant, who graduated on May 4.


From left are Abigail Wilson, Caroline Bryant, Hattie Strong Executive Director Robin Tanner (seated), Justin Meyers, Angela Kinzie and Michael Mangrum. Not pictured is Kayla Witt.

The Hattie M. Foundation made its first gift to Radford in 2012 and, since then, has generously provided $350,000 in scholarship support. The support helps alleviate financial burdens students face during their student-teaching semester, when they are working full time in the classroom and are unable to offset expenses with outside employment.

Recipients of the Hattie M. Strong scholarship must have a 3.0 GPA or better for the two semesters prior to student teaching, exhibit outstanding success and enthusiasm in previous field experiences, show strong leadership skills and demonstrate financial need. Recipients must intend to pursue a career in teaching. Preference is provided to applicants with a demonstrated record of helping others help themselves.

Radford University is one of 24 institutions whose teacher candidates are supported through this program.

This year’s Radford recipients are:

  • Michael Mangrum of Gretna, Virginia. (Music education)
  • Caroline Bryant of Radford, Virginia. (Elementary education)
  • Abigail Wilson of Riner, Virginia. (Special education)
  • Justin Meyers of Salem, Virginia. (Elementary education)
  • Angela Kinzie of Newport News, Virginia. (Middle grades social studies education)
  • Kayla Witt of Roanoke, Virginia. (Elementary education)

On April 18, the university’s College of Education and Human Development hosted a dinner to celebrate the scholarship recipients. It was an opportunity for the students to meet Hattie M. Strong Foundation Executive Director Robin Tanner and share with her their student-teaching experiences, the scholarships’ impact on their lives and their plans following graduation.

Recipients were introduced by faculty members Melissa Lisanti, Carol Bland, Jennifer McDonel, Darren Minarik and Mary Evans.

“This is always a special time, and it is clear how invested our faculty members are in the success of their student teachers,” said CEHD Associate Dean Debora Bays Wilbon. “The pride is palpable in the room!”

The scholarships are intended to allow the students to “focus on becoming the best educator they can be,” Wilbon said. For many of the scholars, the scholarship allows them to cover living expenses such as rent, food and transportation while reducing or eliminating part-time employment during the semester.

“The student-teaching semester is a full-time, intensive experience, leaving little time for extra employment,” Wilbon explained. “The students may be student-teaching up to an hour’s drive away from Radford, so there may be extra travel expenses added on to the typical semester costs. The scholarships are impactful!”

For Meyers, the Hattie Strong scholarship meant he could apply more focus to his Radford education. “I did not have to stress about my finances,” he said. “This was also a relief for my wife, who is also an educator.”

Bryant added that she is “very appreciative of the Hattie M. Strong committee for looking after the teachers going into a field in need of educators and who are dedicated to creating a safe and joyful learning environment. This scholarship helps put me on my way to doing that myself!”

May 10, 2024
Chad Osborne
(540) 831-7761