Three MTSU students balancing off-campus responsibilities with their full-time educational pursuits will continue their studies with financial help from the June S. Anderson Foundation.
Sarah Clark, Holly Leduc and Samantha Sweat received full-tuition scholarships from the foundation earlier this month at a special luncheon at Through the Grapevine restaurant in Murfreesboro.
Named for a pioneering MTSU chemistry professor, the June S. Anderson Foundation each year awards a one-year full-tuition scholarship to full-time MTSU undergraduate women over age 23 who are preparing for careers in nontraditional fields for women.
Clark, a junior from Murfreesboro majoring in microbiology in MTSU’s College of Basic and Applied Sciences, first applied for the Anderson stipend nine years ago. She took a break from education to raise her family, and shortly after she returned to school, her husband lost his job.
She still works three days a week, 10 hours a day, at a local hair salon to help make ends meet.
“The biggest hurdle for me right now is the financial aspect of school,” Clark said. “Any little bit helps, and to have a full scholarship for a semester is just a huge, huge benefit.”
Clark is interested in becoming a researcher in equine parasitology.
“A lot of the parasites that horses are susceptible to have developed a resistance to the drugs that we have to treat them,” Clark said.
Leduc, a senior from Murfreesboro, joined the U.S. Navy after high school. She served from 2001 to 2004 as a sonar technician on a destroyer and helped searched for enemy submarines.
Now Leduc’s a single mother of two boys, ages 14 and 8, and decided to major in accounting in MTSU’s Jones College of Business after a stint as a bookkeeper for a local restaurant.
She’d like to work for a private accounting firm once she has her Bachelor of Business Administration degree, but she said she’d also consider a career with a government agency.
“I, ideally, want that Monday-through-Friday 8-to-5 type of work,” Leduc said. “I don’t have a whole lot of help. I do have my mom, who helps a little bit, but she also works full-time. … I can’t work 70 hours a week and take care of two kids and leave them home alone all the time.”
Sweat, a 2018 Anderson scholarship recipient, said her family, like many across the country, still struggles with finances, and she is struggling with student loans.
The senior accounting major from Henderson, Tennessee, is on track to earn her BBA degree this December. She’s also is looking forward to getting married in June 2021.
She already has an internship in her field, which she said she likes because of the discipline’s “exactness.”
“You have checks and balances all through accounting,” Sweat said. “You get to see the true, nitty-gritty parts of each business.”
Dr. June S. Anderson, a chemistry professor at MTSU for more than 25 years, advanced the causes of women on campus until her death in 1984.
The Ripley, Tennessee, native founded Concerned Faculty and Administrative Women in 1975 at MTSU as an academic support service for women, and in 1977, she established the Women’s Information Service for Education, which now is the June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students.
In the early 1980s, Anderson founded the university’s first day care center, established MTSU’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program and created the June S. Anderson Foundation. At the state level, she was the founder and first president of Women in Higher Education in Tennessee.
The Anderson Foundation’s primary purpose is to address the gender gap in earnings by encouraging women to enter professions and fields of study that traditionally have been closed to them.
For more information about scholarships for nontraditional women students, visit http://capone.mtsu.edu/jsa or contact Dr. Mary Magada-Ward, president of the foundation and a professor of philosophy, at 615-898-5174 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Gina K. Logue (email@example.com)