UTM senior chosen for leadership class
Posted: Thursday, December 29, 2011 10:24 am
The Messenger 12.29.11
Abbie Fuqua, a University of Tennessee at Martin senior education major, joined a select group of 14 college students this fall as she was chosen to participate in the Ned McWherter Center for Rural Development 2011-12 Leadership Class.
Ms. Fuqua, who plans to become a teacher, was the only UT Martin student selected.
USDA Rural Develop-ment announced federal support for the leadership class in November. The Rural Business Enterprise Grant of $25,000 will be matched by $25,000 in contributions from the center to train West Tennessee college students in public service and leadership, ultimately improving the economic health of the communities they call home.
Bobby Goode, USDA Rural Development state director, joined state Sen. Roy Herron, president of the Ned McWherter Center, in making the announcement.
“The McWherter Scholars are among West Tennessee’s very best students and our future leaders,” Herron said. “Every dollar we invest in their education will repay our region multi-fold.”
Colleges nominated students for the class, initial interviews were held and a committee made the final selection. The group began meeting monthly in October and will continue through spring semester 2012.
Activities include team-building exercises and a group project that will focus on actions to help rural areas overcome economic challenges.
The group is learning about issues affecting West Tennessee and is meeting leaders from around the region.
“I was very excited to be chosen,” said Ms. Fuqua, a Martin native. “This program has been so beneficial. It’s been great to meet students from other local colleges.”
When she graduates in May, Ms. Fuqua will be licensed to teach kindergarten through sixth grade. She’s a member of Chi Omega Sorority and served two years as vice president of Kappa Delta Pi, the education honor society.
She was also a Peer Enabling Program (PEP) leader and and a member of the university’s Summer Orientation and Registration (SOAR) staff.
PEP is a three-phase program that assists UT Martin freshmen with the transition to college life and includes SOAR, which provides freshmen a head start on fall semester by offering registration and other orientation activities.
UT Martin students are selected to staff both the PEP and SOAR programs.
Created in 2008, the Ned McWherter Center for Rural Development selects a small group of college students each year to participate in a demanding leadership program.
Participants must have a 3.5 grade point average, be a West Tennessee native, attend a college in West Tennessee and have a strong desire for public service.
“It is an honor for my family to be associated with such an outstanding program that develops the future leaders of our state,” said Mike McWherter, son of the late former Gov. Ned McWherter.
“The center’s administration understands the importance of education and training in the continued efforts to improve the lives of Tennesseans and with their help, the McWherter Scholars Program will brighten the future of Tennessee for years to come.”
Abbie Fuqua, Ned McWherter Center for Rural Development 2011-12 Leadership Class, University of Tennessee at Martin