CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The third cohort of West Virginia’s Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholars have been selected.

Twenty-seven recent high school graduates have been selected to receive a scholarship of up to $10,000 per year, or $40,000 total, which is stackable with other forms of financial aid, as they pursue careers as West Virginia teachers.

“I’m incredibly proud of these young scholars, and I can’t wait to see what they accomplish over the next four years and beyond,” said Dr. Sarah Armstrong Tucker, West Virginia’s Chancellor of Higher Education. “We worked with the Legislature and Governor Justice three years ago to create a preeminent scholarship that would produce new generations of strong, committed teachers for years to come in the Mountain State. With three cohorts of scholars now pursuing their teaching careers right here at home, we are well on our way to reaching that goal.”

Collage of the third cohort of West Virginia’s Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholars

The scholarships come as part of the Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholars Program, which was designed to alleviate West Virginia’s teacher shortage by allowing recipients commit to teaching in a high-demand field in West Virginia for at least five years after graduation. These students are each paired with “a practicing classroom teacher mentor, who provides guidance throughout their college careers.”

“I am pleased to congratulate our recent class of Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholars,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools W. Clayton Burch. “The teacher shortage in West Virginia and around the country is a challenge. This program, along with our Teach WV Pathways to Teaching initiative, assists us to meet the demand by bringing a highly qualified corps of new teachers into the profession. Each scholar is to be commended for selecting this noble and ever-important career path.”

The selected scholars beginning this fall are:

  • Morgan Billings from Summers County High School is attending Concord University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Mickala Brill from Petersburg High School is attending West Virginia University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Sophia Cava from Bridgeport High School is attending Fairmont State University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Sydni Cawley from Nitro High School is attending West Virginia University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Stephanie Collins from Grafton High School is attending West Virginia University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Alexis Cook from Westside High School is attending Concord University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Bailey Deweese from Buffalo Putnam High School is attending Marshall University to pursue a degree in science.
  • Autumn Dickerson from Princeton Senior High School is attending Bluefield State University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Hannah Felton from Keyser High School is attending West Virginia University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Claire Flanagan from Parkersburg High School is attending Fairmont State University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Morgan Keaton from Woodrow Wilson High School is attending Concord University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Isabella Klee from South Park High School in Pennsylvania is attending West Virginia University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Stephen Loftis from Sissonville High School is attending West Virginia State University to pursue a degree in special education.
  • Rayegan Loss from Lincoln High School is attending Fairmont State University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Keirstin Lyons from Spring Valley High School is attending Marshall University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Natalie Malone from St. Marys High School is attending Fairmont State University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Baylee Muncy from Man High School is attending the University of Charleston to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Bailey Olinger from University High School is attending West Virginia University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Rebecca Pruett from Princeton Senior High School is attending Marshall University to pursue a degree in math.
  • Janie Prunty from Bridgeport High School is attending West Virginia University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Keirsten Reich from South Harrison High School is attending Fairmont State University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Hazel Riley from Pocahontas County High School is attending West Virginia University to pursue a degree in math.
  • Kylea Robinson from Nitro High School is attending West Virginia University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Audrey Simpson from Clay-Battelle High School is attending Fairmont State University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Morgan Snyder from Point Pleasant High School is attending Marshall University to pursue a degree in elementary education.
  • Zoey Steele from Sherman High School is attending Glenville State University to pursue a degree in math.
  • Kelsi Wilson Hott from Petersburg High School is attending Davis & Elkins College to pursue a degree in elementary education.

The Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center will hold a celebration for the scholars on July 12. Scholar photos can be found at collegeforwv.com/programs/underwood-smith-teaching-scholars/2022-scholars/.

Those interested in the Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholars Program can apply for the 2023 cohort starting July 15, 2022. More information can be found at collegeforwv.com/underwoodsmith.