Teacher education student receives scholarship in time of need

Caroline Miskovsky Snyder anxiously awaits her first day in her own classroom, thanks to the generosity of private donations and support from faculty and staff at the West Virginia University College of Education and Human Services.

In Snyder’s case, the William Joseph Sturgis Endowed Scholarship was both a gift to her and her family in their darkest time. According to Snyder, she never would have been able to continue her education at WVU while also working and supporting her family during her mother’s terminal illness.

With five sisters and plenty of nephews and nieces underfoot, Caroline had always been surrounded by children. After transferring to WVU her freshman year, she was inspired by two classes to consider education as her focus; Rosemary Hathaway's American Literature English 242 course and Rudy Almasy's Fiction for Adolescents English 405.

"While I have always loved reading to my nieces and nephews, these two WVU professors focused on more than just the text. They also shared strategies to get young students interested in reading, and showed me that books have more to offer for developing identities. It clicked with me that I could take a different path professionally," said Snyder.

After receiving an Order of Augusta Scholar and Outstanding Senior award, Snyder graduated from WVU with a bachelor’s degree in English in 2013. In the back of her mind, she sensed that teaching could be the career for her. After graduation Snyder decided to return to WVU to earn her master of arts and certification in elementary education.

Snyder was familiar with hard work. Her mother, Terri, had an impressive 34-year career with WSP (Mountain Enterprises). She had been a pioneer in three-dimensional modeling programs for structural steel detailing, developing ME2. With a terminal illness and her health declining, she departed her position with WSP, leaving their family under pressure with growing tuition fees, medical bills, and more.

Snyder was aware of the strain her absence put on her large family and the financial troubles that were ahead. Staying at WVU was becoming increasingly difficult to justify. Throughout the winter of 2015, Snyder regularly traveled back and forth two and a half hours each way to be with her mother.

In her time of need, Snyder reached out to mentors within CEHS and was an eligible recipient for the Sturgis Scholarship. The scholarship is given to needy and deserving students attending WVU who are majoring in the fields of education and/or religion.

In January 2015, Caroline’s mother was put on a transplant list. Sadly, by the time she received a transplant, her body had degenerated and developed inoperable cancer. In February of 2015, her mother passed away.

In spite of her loss, Caroline has carried on and attributes her success to the scholarships she has received. “If not for the generosity of donors to the College of Education and Human Services, I would not be finishing my degree right now. I would be back home working to save in order get my education – not about to start my career.”

Caroline will be graduating in December 2017 thanks to the kindness of donations given to the College of Education and Human Services.

The WVU Foundation, in partnership with the University, is currently conducting A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University which runs through December 2017.

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