A virtual student veteran

Patriot scholarship winner teaching and learning virtually

Sixth grade teacher Jennifer Hosley was troubled when the coronavirus pandemic closed the doors on the school where she taught in Alma, Arkansas.

"It was devastating to feel like we had abandoned them (the students), but we didn’t have a choice," Hosley said.

As a U.S. Army veteran and wife of one, she knows this feeling well.

"This is what it feels like every single time there was a deployment—every single time," said Hosley, a former Patriot air and missile defense system operator in the Army. "When the deployment orders come, you go. You just figure out how to stay close to those that you love while doing your job because that’s your responsibility."

Hosley finished the school year teaching virtually and started studying for an online master’s degree in educational leadership at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.

In 2017, she received a Raytheon Missiles & Defense Patriot scholarship offered exclusively to Army veterans pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree. Recipients must demonstrate passion for their field of study as well as leadership in their local community.

"The scholarship helps provide financial stability for veterans like Jennifer who are pursuing higher education while working and raising a family," said Sam Sullivan, who leads community relations for Raytheon Missiles & Defense, one of four businesses that form Raytheon Technologies.

The company is partnering with the Student Veterans of America, or SVA, to provide two $10,000 scholarships in 2020 and is accepting applications through Sept. 16. To apply, visit the SVA website.

Hosley served five years active duty in the Army, followed by one and a half years in the Army Reserves while earning her bachelor’s degree at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. (Photo: Jennifer Hosley)

Hosley served five years active duty in the Army and one and a half years in the Army Reserve while earning her bachelor’s degree at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith. (Photo: Jennifer Hosley)

For Hosley, her profession goes beyond the classroom. Being a teacher means acting as a counselor and teaching emotional, study and organizational skills.

"The hardest part about teaching virtually was the emotional disconnect – not seeing their faces, their smiles or their hugs," Hosley said.

As part of the online curriculum, Hosley would read and record a chapter daily from "Number the Stars" by Lois Lowry, and upload it to YouTube for students to watch.

Hosley is entering her third year of teaching at Alma Middle School, where she also coaches the quiz bowl team. She was named Arkansas Teacher of the Year by the Veterans of Foreign Wars in 2020 and is being considered in the national competition.

While earning her graduate degree, Hosley hopes to continue her involvement with the SVA. She was chapter president at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith.

It was through SVA that Hosley met representatives of Raytheon Missiles & Defense, maker of the system that defined her time in the military.

"They made me feel that sense of value all over again," Hosley said. "I'm proud to be a patriot."

Raytheon Missiles & Defense is part of Raytheon Technologies, which is using its manufacturing capacity, and engineering, logistics and finance expertise, to carry out initiatives that serve our communities, deliver on our commitments to our customers and protect our employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about our efforts.