Carlie Steele said transferring to UNA and the Cole Honors College was the best decision she's made.

Transfer Student is Home at UNA: ‘Best Decision I Have Ever Made’

Jan. 05, 2024

Ella G. Stephenson , at

As a senior in high school, Carlie Steele decided to accept a cheerleading scholarship at a regional university in Tennessee. By the end of her first semester, however, Carlie was planning on a new home in the Delores and Weldon Cole Honors College at UNA. 

Carlie grew up in a military family. Her father served 23 years in the Navy, and her parents met while he was stationed in Japan. Carlie has lived in Pensacola and Jacksonville, Florida, and then in Collinwood, Tennessee, where she completed high school.  

Among her many extracurricular involvements, Carlie has worked for the Universal Cheer Association (UCA), teaching cheer in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. In her first year of college, Carlie also interned for Congressman Mark Green (R-Tenn.) and had a job offer to work on a mayoral campaign in Nashville, but the pull of UNA was too strong.  

On her decision to transfer, Carlie said, “I appreciate everything I learned and all the connections I made my first year in college. After that first year though, everything lined up perfectly for me to transfer to UNA and find my new home.” 

Carlie enjoys many social aspects of UNA. She is a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, Women in Business, and she is also a Lionette.  

Carlie is majoring in Professional Management housed in the Sanders College of Business and Technology, and she is already eyeing UNA’s MBA program.

“There is a sense of belonging here,” she said. “I wish I would have come here in the first place. Life just took me in a different direction that first year, but I am back where I belong.”  

The second-semester sophomore credits the Cole Honors College for her success at UNA. She has been afforded many connections, opportunities, and resources by the faculty.  

“I cannot rave about it more,” she said.  

Carlie loves the City of Florence and all it offers. She said the city and campus are “very welcoming, even if you’re not from here. It is a good place to make your home and find your people.”   

Her transfer and Honors College scholarships paved the way for the move to UNA. She is also a second-year recipient of the Hagan Scholarship Foundation, which is helping her achieve her goal of graduating college debt-free.   

 “The Cole Honors College works hard to find students of Carlie’s caliber,” said Vince Brewton, Dean of the College. “As a transfer from another four-year institution who we knew nothing about, she found us! Wow, are we ever glad she did. From the moment she set foot on our campus, she started making her mark in impressive ways.”  

Carlie is proud to be a Lion and encourages students who are considering transferring to UNA. “As scary as the transfer process can be, transferring was the best decision I have ever made.” 

About The University of North Alabama

The University of North Alabama is an accredited, comprehensive regional state university offering credential, certificate, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs in the colleges of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering; Business and Technology; Education and Human Sciences; and the Anderson College of Nursing and Health Professions. The first-choice University for more than 10,000 on-campus and online students, UNA is on a bucolic campus in Florence, Alabama, part of the historic and vibrant Shoals region. Lions Athletics, a renowned collegiate athletics program with seven (7) Division II National Championships, is now a proud member of the NCAA Division I’s ASUN Conference. The University of North Alabama is an equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate in the admission policy on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, disability, age, or national origin. For more: and