Scholarship leads Front Royal mom to graduate degree

Shiobhan Reagan

Shiobhan Reagan

A Front Royal woman will be pursuing her master’s degree in theology at Ave Maria University in Southwest Florida after winning a $10,000 scholarship.

>Siobhan Reagan, 41, is one of nine individuals who received scholarships through the Aspire Higher Program from Valeant Dermatology, selected from 970 total applicants. She’s one of three that have won the Today’s Woman Scholar specifically for mothers pursuing a degree.

The application involved writing an essay about a dermatological skin condition the applicant had received treatment for at some point in their life. Reagan said she had discovered the opportunity during a search for scholarships online.

She’ll be leaving for Florida today, preparing to start classes at the Catholic Ave Maria University at the end of the month. She said the Aspire Higher scholarship, along with help from other scholarships and grants, will mean that her entire tuition is paid for.

“It’s been highly recommended, but I’ve never seen it myself,” she said of the university.

She had taken classes at a few different institutions and had recently enrolled in summer classes at Lord Fairfax Community College to help her finish up a bachelor’s degree in theology.

“I was surprised, actually, that there were some classes left I could still take there,” she said.

With her son and daughter also in college, she said she anticipates going from classes at Lord Fairfax Community College with older students to a university with a younger cohort.

Reagan said she’d lived overseas doing missionary work in Ukraine and in Central America for the past two years. She had returned to Front Royal to take care of her father once he’d become sick and decided to go back to school. Once he passed away in March, she set out to try and find funding to do just that.

She said she aims to establish a Catholic nonprofit for women and children in either Belize or Guatemala, and said having her master’s in theology will help her toward that goal.

“I’ll be taking classes in Catholic social teaching and … I’ve already spoken to them about getting more classes that are geared towards people that are doing mission work,” she said.

Since she plans to live in another country to work on her nonprofit, Reagan said she’d likely only be coming back to visit Front Royal – where she’s lived for 18 years – to see family in the future. She said a friend has termed her new journey “Siobhan 2.0.”

‘If it wasn’t for the scholarship, I don’t know if I’d be able to attend,” she said. “Without it, I wouldn’t have this opportunity.”

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com

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