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 first 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. Building on its success, three additional programs were established: Lees-McRae College, NC; Bluefield College, VA; and, the fourth at Maryville College. 

After 26 years of offering the NOSW program, over 700 women have graduated.  A recent survey of graduates showed that 76% are now sustainably employed, enrolled in further education, or both. The experiences of women at other NOSW sites demonstrate that these three-week sessions frequently have a lifelong impact on their lives.  



Women who enroll in our program will spend three weeks in residence at Maryville College. During this time, the women explore career options, educational goals, and leadership development as well as a self-esteem boosting curriculum. Through our 21-day residential program and continuing support, women develop essential tools for advancing their education, gaining sustainable employment and rebuilding self-esteem.

The program is structured so that weekday mornings and some evenings are spent in classes and workshops that include computer training, job search skills, leadership development, Appalachian Literature, personal finance, creative writing and other subjects. The curriculum of the NOSW also includes information on how to enroll into college, receive financial aid and take the SAT or ACT. There is also an opportunity for our participants to begin to build a resume that includes a reference as in the afternoons they intern at local businesses. The weekends are spent exploring the areas around Maryville 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, these 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.



Reaching out to women in East Tennessee, Maryville College’s three week

New Opportunity School for Women will be held July 13-August 2, 2014. 



 Fourteen women will be enrolled in the New Opportunity School for Women and will come to Maryville College to participate in the three week residential program.    Applicants need to have the following:

      • Completed high school  or have a high school equivalency certificate
      • Between the ages of 30 and 55
      • 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 mail. 



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

      • $3,500 provides a scholarship covering all expenses for one woman.
      • $850 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 serving women in East Tennessee, 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!