First stipend established for Northwestern English program, spring 2015 recipient named

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First stipend established for Northwestern English program, spring 2015 recipient named

NWOSU Foundation Release

Kathleen and Gary Earnest with Stephanie QuammenAmong many scholarships available to students at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, the Kathleen and Gary Earnest Stipend for Student and Alumni Outreach provides a new approach in the form of an internship. This unique endowment, recently established by Kathleen and Gary Earnest, will help develop outreach in the English program and cultivate its students’ professional writing skills in order to prepare them for life after graduation.

Senior Stephanie Quammen is the first recipient of the stipend for the fall 2015 semester.

“One of our purposes was to provide an opportunity for majors/minors in our department to practice some skills they could carry with them into a job or as a way to build their resume for graduate school and grow their practical skills,” said Kathleen, instructor of English at Northwestern.

As lifelong residents of Woods County, both Kathleen and Gary were students at Northwestern. After graduation, Kathleen received her master’s in English at the University of Oklahoma and taught for 26 years in public education before returning to Northwestern’s English, Foreign Language and Humanities department. She is now in her 11th year at Northwestern and in the process of completing her doctorate degree at Oklahoma State University.

The Earnests credit their parents for encouraging them to pursue education and were inspired to give other students the same opportunity.

“Our parents – mine and his – were supporters of education, but they didn’t have an opportunity to attend college,” Kathleen said. “So when it was time for their children to get an education, they were very supportive of their children going to college. We thought we would try to share that legacy with other students."

The internship opportunity is making a difference in the life of one Northwestern student and first-ever stipend recipient.

“I feel honored to receive the stipend, and I’m excited to see what the English department gets to do with this opportunity,” Quammen said. “I definitely think it’s going to prepare me for the workforce.”

After graduation, Quammen wants to go into publishing and thinks this internship opportunity will help her when she leaves Northwestern.

The Earnests hope the stipend will prompt English majors to think about life after college and how to start preparing for a career or graduate school, since the application process itself makes them think more professionally.

“We concentrate so much on just getting through our undergrad, that it causes us to pull things together at the last minute to get ready for a career. I’m just hoping it helps students to think ahead,” Kathleen said.

The internship is open to undergraduate English majors/minors, English education majors and writing minors. Applicants must be full-time students with a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale who have completed 30 hours of coursework and must submit a portfolio consisting of a resume, transcript, two letters of recommendation and a 300-word essay explaining how the internship will advance their academic and professional goals.

Applications for the fall semester internship are due to the department chair, Dr. Kathryn Lane, by March 15 of the previous semester. Applications for the spring semester internship are due by Oct. 15 of the fall semester. Applications may be sent to Lane at kelane@nwosu.edu.

For more information on the Kathleen and Gary Earnest Stipend for Student and Alumni Outreach, or about investing in Northwestern students, contact Skeeter Bird, Northwestern Foundation CEO, at (580) 327-8599 or email him at aebird@nwosu.edu.

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