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Appalachian Future Educators Program Supports Students in Eastern Kentucky

Morehead State University

In Spring 2021, Morehead State University’s Ernst and Sara Lane Volgenau College of Education launched the Appalachian Future Educators (AFE) Scholars Program to provide scholarships, support and mentorship for students from Eastern Kentucky interested in teaching. 

The program admitted its first cohort of students in the fall 2021 semester. In its inaugural year, the AFE program proved to be another example of MSU’s long-held reputation as an institution that provides the best educational experience for the state’s future educators.  

“While our education graduates find employment in school districts all over the Commonwealth and beyond, the AFE program is specifically geared toward sending graduates back to districts in our historic service region,” said Dr. Christopher Beckham, the Shannon-Doran Endowed Professor of Educational Leadership and director of the AFE Program. 

“AFE Scholars take classes with award-winning education faculty and participate in unique opportunities to meet and network with the region’s school leaders. The AFE Scholarship Program is yet another vibrant and important component in our University’s commitment to providing affordable access to high-quality academic programs.”   

The program’s first cohort of students enrolled in a specially designated First Year Seminar (FYS) course section that introduced the scholars to academic life at MSU and provided instruction in what it means to be an effective educational leader within the rural school setting. A series of speakers, including a local superintendent and school principal, came to campus to share with the AFE Scholars and other Volgenau College of Education students, faculty and staff about the opportunities and challenges found in rural education. AFE students met with Provost Dr. Antony Norman, who began the AFE program in Spring 2021. 

Additionally, students met with Volgenau College of Education Dean Dr. April Miller, who shared her experiences as an educator and college administrator.   

AFE Scholars also organized a registered student organization on campus this fall. The student organization focuses on service-learning opportunities that address educational needs within the local community and MSU service region while allowing scholars to get to know each other outside the classroom setting as they work together in student-led activities.   

High school graduates who intend to pursue educator preparation degrees or programs within Volgenau College of Education are eligible. A total of 22 students are chosen as scholarship recipients and program participants. To identify these students, the Volgenau College of Education dean and AFE Scholars program director, in consultation with Enrollment Services and the MSU Foundation, work with P-12 school district leadership in Bath, Boyd, Breathitt, Carter, Elliott, Fleming, Floyd, Greenup, Johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Letcher, Lewis, Magoffin, Martin, Mason, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Pike, Rowan and Wolfe Counties.  

One qualified student from each county is selected to receive a $1,000 annual scholarship. As long as recipients remain in good academic standing, continue toward completing an educator preparation degree or program, and participate in AFE Scholars Program requirements, the scholarship is renewable up to three times.   

Preference is given to students with a high school GPA of 3.0 or higher, evidence of leadership potential, first-generation college students, members of an underrepresented minority group, and those in financial need.   

For more information on the Appalachian Future Educators Scholar program, visit http://www.moreheadstate.edu/afe, or contact Beckham, director of the AFE program, at 606-783-2538 or c.beckham@moreheadstate.edu. 

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