When Soufrière Hills volcano erupted in August of 1995, it was a major event that rendered half of the island of Montserrat unlivable. But for then 19-year-old University of Montevallo student Julie Falkner, its significance didn't register until nearly 20 years later. That's when Falkner, now a sixth-grade science teacher at Simmons Middle School in Hoover, Ala., learned from a colleague that she was eligible to apply for a travel grant from the Success Through Academic Research (STAR) project. "I've always wanted to visit a place that had at least one area that we study in our curriculum, but with limited money, it just wasn't feasible," says Falkner. "So when I heard about the STAR grant, I was ecstatic."