Frostburg State University students Jane Embry Hunt-Howser and Wanda Wagus, both of Cumberland, received two of the 13 University System of Maryland Women's Forum Scholarships awarded this past May.
Several years ago, the University System of Maryland's Women's Forum initiated these scholarships for women 25 years or older who have completed 12 or more credits, are currently enrolled and in good academic standing at a USM institution, and show evidence of financial need.
Both of these FSU students will be seniors next fall, and both are mothers. Although Hunt-Howser's children are grown, her job at Ames Department Store and visits with her children and grandchildren fill her precious free time. Wagus drives a school bus, maintains the athletic fields at Bishop Walsh Middle-High School and cares for four children aged 5 to 15.
A self-described "bibliomaniac," Hunt-Howser is an English major and hopes to earn a master's degree in library science. After graduating from high school in 1964, she enrolled at FSU, but withdrew during her second semester to get married. Seven years ago, she graduated "super cum laude" with an associate's degree in literacy from Allegany College of Maryland. Because she could not find a job in her field that offered what she considered reasonable pay, she accepted a position in retail sales at Ames.
Hunt-Howser clearly revels in her studies. "Reading is breathing to me," she adds. "Books are my university."
When she needed help, she turned to her advisor, Ralph Brewer, and to Harriet Douglas of Student Support Services for academic counseling. "The support is excellent," she says.
Fellow scholarship recipient Wagus' passion is printmaking. A fine arts major, she is now focused on obtaining her teaching certification for grades K-12. After graduating in December 2001, she hopes to teach middle or high school art at a local school. She previously attended FSU during the 1981 - 1982 school year, and transferred to FSU as a junior from AC, where she completed her preliminary general education requirements.
"My kids are very supportive," Wagus says. "I pull them in," she adds, by asking for their ideas and feedback. Thanks to the scholarship, she will have more time for her children and her studies because she will be able to drop the bus-driving job.
Despite the challenges involved, both women appreciate the opportunity to earn a college degree at this point of their lives. "My kids are grown. Now it's my turn," says Hunt-Howser. "Maturity makes us more focused," adds Wagus. " We understand more what education is, and we learn more."
A committee of Women's Forum representatives from each USM institution selected and recommended up to three nominees to the Women's Forum. The amount awarded is $500.
For more information about the USM Women's Forum Scholarships, call Phoebe Wiley at 301-687-4066.
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Frostburg State University
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Frostburg, MD 21532-2303