Huntington – Five students who will begin their undergraduate studies at Marshall University this fall were recognized as 2021 Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholars. They were part of a group of 25 who will be attending higher education institutions throughout West Virginia.

Marshall’s Underwood-Smith Scholars for this year include:


                     Olivia Blount from Sissonville High School to pursue a degree in elementary education; 

                     Raine Fritz from Doddridge County High School to pursue a degree in math;

                     Sydney King from Richwood High School to pursue a degree in math;

                     Annjela Twardy from Man High School to pursue a degree in elementary education;

                     Christopher Vines from Midland Trail High School to pursue a degree in math.


A virtual celebration of the scholars took place today on Facebook Live. Archived video from the program may be viewed at

According to Jessica Tice of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, which manages the program, the Underwood-Smith Teaching Scholarship program is designed to help West Virginia address ongoing teacher shortages in the fields of math, science, special education and elementary education. Recipients commit to teaching in one of these high-demand fields in West Virginia for at least five years after graduation. To give students the greatest chance at success, each is paired with a practicing classroom teacher mentor, who provides guidance throughout their college careers.

“As a former teacher of math myself, I am glad to see some of these new students pursuing STEM fields as well,” said Dr. Teresa Eagle, dean of the College of Education and Professional Development at Marshall. “We welcome these scholars and all incoming freshmen to Marshall.”

For rising high school seniors who want to become teachers in West Virginia, applications are open for the 2022 cohort. Visit for more information. The Underwood-Smith award is stackable with other forms of financial aid. West Virginia residents who receive the PROMISE Scholarship as well ($4,750 per year) receive nearly $15,000 per year to help pay for college.