RICHLAND, Wash. —Teagan Mosher’s interest in winemaking was piqued after she toured the viticultural area of Mount Etna while stationed at U.S. Naval Hospital Sigonella in Italy.
Now an undergraduate in Washington State University’s Department of Viticulture and Enology (V&E), Mosher is pursuing her passion for wine science as the first recipient of the Mann Family Endowed Scholarship, a fund for active-duty military members or veterans seeking education in viticulture and enology.
“Receiving the scholarship was surreal,” said Mosher, who plans to graduate in May 2025 with a bachelor’s degree in viticulture and enology. “It affirmed my choice to not only move on from the Navy, but also branch out into other opportunities. It was a very nice welcome.”
Mosher’s academic skill and clear enthusiasm for viticulture and research make the scholarship well deserved, V&E Associate Professor Bhaskar Bondada added.
“Teagan is hardworking, sincere, and a conscientious student,” he said. “Unequivocally, she is the best choice for the scholarship.”
Originally from a small town near Fairbanks, Alaska, Mosher actively served in the Navy from 2017 to 2022. While stationed overseas in Italy, her roles included advanced medical laboratory technician and microbiology and virology section leader. She assisted with blood transfusion services, staff training, quality control, and supply procurement, also playing a key role in COVID-19 testing during the pandemic and the Afghanistan evacuation.
“Because it’s a Naval air station, we had a lot of people who needed tests to perform their missions,” she said. “We helped reduce the turnaround time between when people were tested and when they received results.”
Mosher received the Humanitarian Service Medal, the Armed Forces Service Medal, a Surgeon General’s Power Award, and three overseas ribbons for her military service, among other honors.
She had expected to earn an associate degree in medical laboratory science while serving in the Navy. However, funding was dropped prior to her graduation, leaving Mosher with college credits but no degree after she was discharged.
That’s when WSU, a member of the Yellow Ribbon Program, entered the picture. Because of the university’s extensive veteran support services and resources, Mosher said her adjustment to campus was essentially seamless.
“WSU is one of the best institutions for veterans pursuing this degree,” she said. “With my current skillset and the university’s ability to support my transition to student, it was a no-brainer. This is a very rewarding degree with a lot of applications.”
Outside of class, Mosher volunteers at nearby Kadlec Regional Medical Center, helping maintain the hospital’s meditation garden for staff. She is also employed as a biological sciences technician with the USDA Agricultural Research Service at WSU’s Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser, Wash., working with a research team to enhance crop disease resistance.
A desire to give back
Barbara and Eric Mann first learned about WSU’s V&E program while attending an event hosted by the Auction of Washington Wines, a nonprofit that has partnered with WSU for decades to fund wine science research.
After placing the winning bid on a personal tour of the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates WSU Wine Science Center, the Manns began to recognize the program’s value.
“We’ve come to appreciate the impact the Wine Science Center has had on the success of Washington’s wine industry,” said Eric Mann, an electrical engineer. “Through training, research, and collaboration, the center provides significant support, expertise, and leadership to the industry.”
The Manns wanted to support the program, and they also wanted to recognize veterans. After initially making annual donations directly to the Wine Science Center, the couple decided to establish an endowed scholarship for veterans pursuing degrees in WSU’s V&E department.
“We’re pleased that we’re able to help veterans,” said Barbara Mann, a middle school teacher and self-described Army brat. “It’s very meaningful to us. Veterans sacrifice a lot, and they need to be recognized.”
Eric Mann sees veterans as particularly well qualified to contribute to the field of wine science.
“The wine industry is rapidly growing and needs more talent, and we want to help veterans use the skills learned at WSU and in the military to advance it,” he said. “We hope this scholarship attracts and enables veterans to successfully complete their studies and pursue careers in this field.”
The Manns plan to continue adding to the scholarship fund over the years, ensuring that many future veterans will also have financial support. In the meantime, they’re pleased to support Mosher as she pursues an education.
“We’re very honored that Teagan was selected,” said Barbara Mann. “We appreciate her service to our country, and she is exactly the type of person we want to be helping.”