The Virginia Western Community Educational Foundation has enhanced its Fralin Futures STEM-H Scholarship program in fall 2021 by hiring a new success coach and offering targeted career planning and mentorship opportunities to recipients.
Thirty-six students were named to the 2021-22 Fralin Futures Scholars cohort and will receive financial and academic resources to assist them in completing their final semesters at Virginia Western and graduating as planned. The merit-based, “finish line” scholarship launched in fall 2019 with 12 outstanding students in science, technology, math, engineering and the health professions.
Funded through an endowment from the Horace G. Fralin Charitable Trust, the scholarship is meant to not only help recipients complete their degrees on time, but also to assist them in finding well-paying and engaging careers with the Roanoke Region’s STEM-H employers. By covering the cost of a recipient’s final two semesters, the scholarship eases one of the major burdens that can make completing an education seem daunting. Recipients are additionally granted a stipend each semester equal to their tuition, which can be used to defray any unexpected costs that might come up during a student’s final year.
“There aren’t too many scholarships out there that cover tuition and provide a stipend directly to students. In doing so, the Fralin Futures scholarship recognizes that the pursuit of a college degree is only part of a student’s personal, academic and professional advancement,” said Schuyler van Montfrans, the program’s new success coach. “I’m thankful to be a part of this. I think the opportunities the scholarship program is offering to students as they come down the home stretch here at Virginia Western hold career- and life-long value.”
Van Montfrans draws on his experience as a STEM educator and researcher in advising Virginia Western students and helping them plan a fulfilling career. He is a former science teacher at Roanoke’s William Fleming High School and served as a research specialist at Virginia Tech. With funding from the National Science Foundation, he led the design of a place-based online-accessible educational curriculum that integrated novel pedagogical approaches with “backyard” ecology and conservation experiences to inspire middle- and high school students across Appalachia to become lifelong stewards of their local natural environment.
“I get really excited as someone who has been in research science and in education for most of my career. These students are going to have huge impacts in their STEM and Health Professions careers once they finish their program here,” van Montfrans said. “Look out for them. They are difference-makers.”
In addition to receiving the scholarship support, Fralin Futures Scholars benefit from leadership training and tailored advising from the Hall Associates Career Center on campus. They also receive the opportunity to attend relevant professional and educational events, both within and outside of Virginia.
The following students make up the scholarship’s 2021-22 cohort:
|Name||Academic Plan (SIS)|
|Lyndsey Abajace||Dental Hygiene|
|Ashley Brooke||Radiation Oncology|
|Hannah Chambers||Science: Agriculture|
|Jennifer Cruz-Santos||Science – Health Sciences|
|Joseph Desai||Engineering: Computer Science|
|Samantha Fridley||Dental Hygiene|
|Wendy Greer||Medical Laboratory Technology|
|Ellen Hartley||Dental Hygiene|
|Parker Jamieson||MSET-Design Engineering Tech|
|Mirza Jarcevic||Engineering – AS|
|Thomas Killen||Mechatronics Sys Engineer Tech|
|Jagger LaDouceur||Engineering: Computer Science|
|Jacob Leonard||Mechatronics Sys Engineer Tech|
|Patrick Moore||IST: Cyber Security & Network|
|Seweryn Morgiewicz||Radiation Oncology|
|Jennifer Nguyen||Medical Laboratory Technology|
|Jenny Pena||Practical Nursing|
|Daniel Peters||MSET-Electrical Engineer Tech|
|Selena Sherkosky||Practical Nursing|
|Shelley Teer||IST: Database and Program Dev|
Fralin Futures scholarship applications for the 2022-23 academic year will be accepted starting in March 2022. To qualify, students must have a 3.0 GPA in a STEM-H program of study at Virginia Western and be within two semesters of graduating. For more information, visit virginiawestern.edu/fralinfutures.