The New Opportunity School for Women is designed to improve the educational, financial and personal circumstances of low-income, under-educated women between 30 and 55 years of age living in the Appalachian region.



The New Opportunity School for Women was founded in 1987 by Jane B. Stephenson at Berea College in Kentucky out of an urgent need to help women in Appalachia become better educated and employed.  The program helps determined women to improve their lives and shape a fulfilling and successful future.   Building on its success, and the need to help low-income women in Appalachia, three additional programs were established.  The programs are held at the following colleges:  Lees-McRae College, NC;  Bluefield College, VA; and, the fourth NOSW program on the campus of Maryville College. 

After 27 years of offering the NOSW program, over 770 women have attended the program,  and 73% of NOSW graduates are sustainably employed, enrolled in further education, or both.



Women who enroll in NOSW will spend three weeks in residence at Maryville College During the three weeks, career options are explored along with personal educational goals.   The curriculum consists of career development that includes successful job search techniques, computer skills and resume writing.  The curriculum also includes classes in leadership development, self-esteem building,  Appalachian literature, creative writing, computer basics, basic finance and math classes, and public speaking.   NOSW prepares women for further education by providing academic skills, knowledge of processes, and a spirit of confidence based on achievement necessary to succeed.   NOSW prepares its graduates for the world of work by collaborating with local businesses for internships during the program.  Weekends are spent exploring East Tennessee and attending cultural events.

Through an intensive curriculum, hard work, community internships and career counseling, participants tap into new knowledge and skills while realizing value of their own wisdom, experiences and abilities. In three weeks,  women begin to rediscover personal strengths, courage and life goals that have often been hidden by overwhelmingly difficult circumstances. The NOSW program is a life-changing event.


The New Opportunity School for Women at Maryville College

will be held:  


July 12 - August 1, 2015




 Fourteen women will be welcomed to attend the New Opportunity School for Women at Maryville College and to participate in the three week in-residence program.  

To qualify, applicants need to submit an application and have the following:

      • A high school diploma or a high school equivalency certificate
      • Age range - 30 - 55 years of age
      • Demonstrate motivation and an eagerness to learn
      • Low income

There is no cost to attend the New Opportunity School for Women.             Room and meals are provided. Grants for travel and at home childcare are available.  

Program candidates will be interviewed either in person or by telephone. During the interview, applicants will be expected to express what they hope to accomplish in their personal life by attending the New Opportunity School for Women. Those chosen to participate in the program will be notified by telephone and mail. 



The New Opportunity School for Women is completely supported through grants, sponsorships, in-kind gifts and by donations. We are a 501(c)(3) and all donations are tax deductible.    Your interest and support are greatly appreciated!

      • $3,800 provides a scholarship covering all expenses for one woman.
      • $925 provides room and board for one woman.
      • Your donation of $10 to $1,000.00 will help provide books, transportation and/or partial housing.

To help us to continue to serve low-income Appalachian women in East Tennessee,  your  support in any amount greatly appreciated.

Please mail your donation to:
New Opportunity School for Women
Maryville College
Attn: Linda Ueland
502 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway
Thaw 128A
Maryville, TN 37804-5907


We thank you for your interest and support!