If she’s not in class or spending time with her sisters in Chi Omega, it might prove difficult to pinpoint exactly where junior Hannah Garner could be. There’s a strong possibility she is camouflaged somewhere in the great outdoors of Alabama, poised and ready for passing wildlife.
Garner grew up in the small town of Fayetteville, Alabama. She attended the town’s high school, graduating with more than 40 other students. Because of its tiny population, Garner felt compelled to lend her natural athletic talent to the school’s basketball, track, softball and cheerleading teams.
Her love of sports meshed well with her deep reverence for the outdoors. A self-proclaimed “daddy’s girl,” she honed her skills as an adept hunter by spending patient hours in tree stands with her father.
These important bonding experiences formed the basis for an essay Garner wrote in conjunction with applying for the UM President’s Outdoor Scholars program.
Founded by University President John W. Stewart III in 2015, the scholarship allows for student outdoor enthusiasts to attend classes while also learning the traditions and trades of modern outdoor industries.
Outdoor Scholars Director William Crawford not only accepted Garner into the debut class of his program, but saw something special in her heartfelt essay.
He passed the essay on to Jackie Bushman, the founder of Buckmasters Outdoor Magazine. Bushman was so touched by Garner’s story, he offered her the publication’s inaugural Buckmasters Scholarship.
Since Garner stepped on campus as a freshman, Crawford has been consistently impressed by her outgoing personality and dedication to the program. “She is a great model of what I want the Outdoor Scholars students to be,” said Crawford.
While spending time outdoors is her passion, Garner’s career goal is inside the classroom. She is currently studying elementary education with a concentration in special needs collaborative education with the goal of one day teaching high disability children.
“I don’t know how to explain it; I have a place in my heart for them and it’s what I want to do for the rest of my life,” said Garner. “I want to teach kids and make them feel like normal individuals.”
She hopes to provide her future students with opportunities to enjoy the same outdoor experiences she cherished as a child. For more information on the President’s Outdoor Scholars’ program, visit http://outdoorscholars.montevallo.edu/.