Bluefield College Students Earn Prestigious Noyce Scholarships

June 24, 2008 | RSS

Article by Bluefield College student Rachel Reed     

Two Bluefield College students joined a prestigious group recently, earning hefty scholarships in the process that will help them complete their teacher education studies.     

This spring, biology major Lindsey Sebring, who hopes to someday become a science teacher, and mathematics major Courtney Willard, who plans on teaching math, were named Robert Noyce Scholars by the Appalachian College Association (ACA), meaning each will receive a $7,500 scholarship for college expenses.     

Administered by the ACA, of which Bluefield College is a member, the Robert Noyce Scholarship is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The award is available to a limited number of teacher education students majoring in mathematics, technology or a science who are willing to commit to teaching in a "high-need" middle or high school, as defined by the NSF.     

To be eligible for the honor, Sebring and Willard had to meet a minimum grade point average requirement, write a 500-word essay on the impact they hope to have as teachers, as well as their commitment to the Appalachian region, and submit two letters of recommendation.     

"These students compete with applicants that could come from dozens of Appalachian College Association institutions," said Greg Kerr, professor and chair of the Division of Science and Mathematics. "Depending on the number of applicants, competition can be tough."     

Both of BC's new Noyce Scholars are proud to have been selected, and they are already looking forward to entering into teaching careers and trying to make a positive impact.     

"It is definitely an honor to be selected and granted such a large scholarship," said Sebring, a native of Chesapeake, Virginia. "I am so thankful that God has blessed both Courtney and me as we seek to minister to his children through teaching. I can't wait to get out into the teaching field and feed my passion."     

"I feel very honored and I am excited about being a part of the scholarship activities," added Willard, who came to BC from Archdale, North Carolina.     

Dr. Donna Watson, assistant professor and chair of the Division of Education, said that Sebring and Willard were good choices for the Noyce award, because each has a strong commitment to becoming an effective teacher.     

"While this scholarship will mean much to these very worthy young women now," Dr. Watson said, "it will pay even more dividends in the future in terms of the countless number of public school students that they will positively influence."     

"Both of these young women are excellent teacher education students," Dr. Kerr added, "so I'm pleased, but not surprised, that they were chosen for this scholarship."     

Kathryn Bowles, program manager of the ACA, was quick to note her pride in the dedication of the Bluefield College students. In fact, one student, she said, missed BC's Spring Formal in order to attend the Noyce Scholars Banquet to receive her award.     

"I can imagine how difficult it must have been to miss being on the Spring Court," Bowles said, "but the student made the honorable decision and didn't even ask for an exception. I believe the best of the best students attended the banquet, and Bluefield truly attracts students of high integrity who take their obligations seriously."     

After college, Noyce Scholars must teach in a "high-need" school in the Appalachian region for two years for every year that they receive the scholarship. High-need school districts are defined by the number of students participating in free- and reduced-price lunch programs, the percentage of teachers in the schools who do not have degrees in the areas in which they teach, and the schools' teacher attrition rate.     

Sebring and Willard join Bluefield College's Ben Thurman, a chemistry major from Moneta, Virginia, who received a Noyce Scholarship last year.