Young women who have overcome obstacles and achieved academic excellence have been rewarded with full tuition scholarships at MTSU.
The June S. Anderson Foundation presented the stipends to Jill Greenfield Ethridge of Smyrna, Tennessee, and Eileen Rapier of Murfreesboro May 14 at a luncheon at B. McNeel’s Restaurant in Murfreesboro.
The foundation awards annual full tuition scholarships to women age 23 and older who are preparing for careers in fields that are nontraditional for women.
Rapier, a 39-year-old senior, was married immediately following high school. After that union dissolved, she moved to Tennessee and remarried.
Her husband’s pursuit of a psychology degree at MTSU inspired her to investigate what courses she might like to take.
“I discovered that MTSU is the only public university in Tennessee to offer a degree in fashion design,” Rapier said.
The apparel design major noted that, although fashion is associated with women, it still is a very male-dominated industry. Rapier said she wants to be a pattern maker after she graduates in spring 2015.
“Pattern making is a fairly technical skill,” said Rapier. “It requires math and computer knowledge and isn’t especially glamorous, but it is steady work and generally in high demand. I think I have a knack for it.”
Ethridge, a 49-year-old senior, has a background in teaching at a private school, in camps, in after-school programs and in several other venues.
After her marriage broke up, she became her family’s sole support. By that time, however, a university education was mandatory to obtain a teaching certificate, and Ethridge said she felt she could not attend college with young children at home.
“I did some research and found that I could go to MTSU full-time and find a job that would be flexible enough,” Ethridge said.
The education major has driven a county school bus in order to juggle motherhood, work and classes. She won’t be able to continue that job during her senior year because of her full schedule of classes.
“This scholarship would alleviate the stress and anxiety of how to finish my degree and move forward to begin a better future for myself and my children,” Ethridge said.
She plans to teach math in a Rutherford County high school following graduation in May 2015 and to continue her education by pursuing a master’s degree in either educational administration or English as a second language.
A third winner, senior Carmen Arcila, couldn’t attend the luncheon because she is spending her summer studying abroad. A native of Colombia who lives in Hendersonville, Tennessee, the finance major and single mother works two part-time jobs to make ends meet.
“I was raised by my maternal grandparent with many financial needs after my father decided not to be part of my life and my mom needed to work out of town,” Arcila wrote in her scholarship application.
On moving to the United States, Arcila worked in low-paying maintenance and janitorial jobs while taking English lessons and aspiring to attend college.
“I also want to let young students know that college is an option for everyone who wants to pursue higher education,” she wrote.
Arcila wants to work either in foreign service with the government or international business upon graduation.
Dr. June S. Anderson, for whom the foundation was named, taught chemistry at MTSU from 1958 to 1983. She established the foundation in 1982 to provide scholarships to students in areas of study underrepresented by women.
Anderson founded Concerned Faculty and Administrative Women in 1975 as an academic support service for women and established the Women’s Information Service for Education in 1977. She also founded Women in Higher Education in Tennessee, participated in the Rape Alert program, conducted women’s studies classes and championed pay equity, child care centers and proper campus lighting.
For more information about June Anderson Foundation scholarships, go to http://capone.mtsu.edu/jsa.
— Gina K. Logue (Gina.Logue@mtsu.edu)