ATLANTA, Ga., and CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — One announced Middle Tennessee State University Presidential Scholarship recipient emerged at the True Blue Tour event Oct. 16 in Chattanooga and a second qualified, future special education teacher just needs to determine if her path will take her to Murfreesboro or elsewhere.
Down Interstate 75 at the Oct. 17 tour event in Atlanta, many promising student prospects emerged from a variety of high schools, including another college-bound young woman who received a $3,500 scholarship from President Sidney A. McPhee to conclude the tour student reception — and make her ponder her future.
MTSU hit the highway to travel to stops Nos. 7 and 8 on the student recruitment tour, which journeys to 14 cities across four states — Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee. McPhee is joined by academic deans, top administrators and admissions and support staff on the stops, which are a combination of luncheons with high school guidance counselors and evening receptions for prospective students and their families.
McPhee introduced Paige Dunny, 17, a senior at Soddy-Daisy High School, as a Presidential Scholarship beneficiary in Chattanooga. It means $4,500 per year, or $18,000 for four years, for the young woman who plans to study forensic science.
Was the young woman called to the stage surprised by the recognition, which involved two separate oversized checks, one for $8,000 and one for $18,000, and a full explanation by McPhee?
“Uh, yeah,” said Dunny, who scored a 26 ACT and carries a 3.5 GPA. “I don’t know what to think. It’s very exciting and I’m very grateful.”
Also in Chattanooga, education adviser Alicia Abney quickly recognized Laurelie Holmberg, 17, of Central High School as a can’t-miss and can’t-lose-her-to-another-school prospect nearly from the moment they began talking.
Abney told College of Education Dean Lana Seivers, who was immediately won by the teenager’s passion for learning and teaching.
“I’m always excited to meet someone who really wants to teach and who has a passion for special education,” Seivers said. “MTSU is the place for Laurelie, and we can’t lose her to another school.”
“I started volunteering in classrooms and people would say, ‘We can’t imagine you doing anything else,’” Holmberg said of herself at age 14. Her 4.0 GPA and 27 ACT score qualify her for a guaranteed Presidential Scholarship at MTSU.
Holmberg also is a member of the Ruritan Club. She’ll receive the Hope Lottery Scholarship, and she also has the lineage to receive an award from the Daughters of the American Revolution.
“She’s going to teach special education,” her mother, Paula Holmberg, said. “She’s completely passionate about children with special needs.”
A surprising end in Atlanta
Across the board, at both the student reception and counselors’ luncheon, MTSU’s deans, department chairs and administrators found the Atlanta area plentiful in academic talent and interest for MTSU.
A number of prospects want to pursue the Department of Aerospace’s professional pilot program, some music and still others pursuing recording industry, animation and more.
Martina Irvin, 17, a senior at Westlake High School, helped to conclude the Atlanta student reception by accepting a $3,500 scholarship from McPhee. She wants to pursue secondary education and teach middle school.
“I like making a difference in peoples’ lives,” Irvin said, “and learning is a part of everyday life.” She plans to visit MTSU for the Nov. 3 Fall Preview Day.
For more information about MTSU admissions, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 615-898-2233. For information about tours and events, email email@example.com or call 615-898-5670.
MTSU’s True Blue Tour travels next to Johnson City, Tennessee, Tuesday, Oct. 23, for a 6 p.m. student reception at the Carnegie Hotel and to Knoxville, Tennessee, Wednesday, Oct. 24, for a 12:30 p.m. luncheon for counselors and community college staff and 6 p.m. student reception at The Foundry on the Fair Site. All events are free.
To register, visit www.mtsu.edu/rsvp.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)