LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Aug. 23, 2012) — This winter, while her husband is serving his country overseas, Ali Larson will be tackling a new project of her own.
Larson, the wife of U.S. Army Capt. Chris Larson, is the first Army spouse to receive a University of Louisville graduate scholarship for military spouses. She’ll get free tuition, a 20-hour graduate assistantship and a $1,200 monthly stipend while she pursues a master’s degree in social work.
As a former English teacher, Larson, 27, often saw middle-school students struggle in tough situations at home that she could not fully address in the classroom, she said.
“One girl had been taking care of her younger brother and sister for weeks, getting them up in the morning, bathing them and dressing them, handling everything because their mother had left home,” Larson said. “I realized there’s only so much you can do as a teacher, and I wanted to do more.”
UofL created the scholarship because military spouses nearly always have to put their education on hold while supporting their husband or wife, said Renee Finnegan, who directs UofL’s Office of Military Initiatives and Partnerships.
“This helps one partner advance along his or her career path while the other partner is actively serving, so both can move ahead in their chosen field,” Finnegan said.
Larson is glad she’ll be going to school while her husband is on active duty.
“At this point, we know Chris will probably work in a hospital after he ships out, since he’s a physician’s assistant, but we don’t know exactly where he’ll be,” she said. “I know grad school will be a lot of hard work, but it will keep me busy so I won’t sit around worrying about him as much.”