Faith, obstacles, friendship: Hannah Millershaski’s journey at Newman

Jun 07, 2022
Newman employee Julia Sanders and Hannah Millershaski, 2022 elementary education graduate of Newman University

2022 graduate Hannah Millershaski’s days at Newman might be over, but she is ready to jump into her new role as a third-grade teacher at Nickerson Elementary and women’s basketball coach at Nickerson High School. 

Millershaski earned her degree in elementary education from Newman University. As a teacher entering the workforce, she is particularly looking forward to working with students who may struggle in the classroom environment. 

“School was hard for me, and I faced challenges with speech and my vision,” Millershaski said. “I’m excited to take what I learned from teachers who helped me get to where I am and do the same for my own students who struggle.”

Faith and unexpected friendship

Millershaski’s undergraduate years have entailed many unexpected obstacles, however, one led to meeting her best friend, Newman employee Julia Sanders.

Hannah Millershaski
Hannah Millershaski

When Millershaski and Sanders, who serves as database coordinator for institutional advancement, first met, it was under dire circumstances.

It all started two years ago when the two attended Fort Hays State University. Millershaski and Sanders were among several college students who traveled to Indianapolis for a Catholic FOCUS Conference.

While at the conference, Millershaski had an unexpected epileptic seizure — a lingering aftereffect from a car accident in high school.

As a supervisor for the conference, Sanders was deemed responsible to take Millershaski to the hospital ICU, and was thankful she did, she said.

Julia Sanders
Julia Sanders, database coordinator for institutional advancement

“Through that friendship, we’ve gone to different FOCUS conferences and a lot of different religious stuff together,” Sanders said. “She’s just been a really good friend to have.”

Millershaski is healthy now and is thankful for having Sanders with her during that time. 

“Ever since then, Julia’s been right by my side. I’m now two years seizure-free so that’s wonderful and Julia’s been part of the ride,” Millershaski said. 

Reunited at Newman

After Sanders graduated from Fort Hays State University, she and Millershaski were once again united at Newman, where Sanders accepted a job as an employee, and Millershaski finished her undergraduate degree.

One of the reasons Millershaski chose to come to Newman is because of her Catholic faith

(Left to right) Julia Sanders and Hannah Millershaski

“At Newman, I have the opportunity to go through classes knowing that we all have the same ideas and values. Openly talking about the Catholic faith and just religion in general was something that you don’t get to experience everywhere and that was a big blessing,” Millershaski said.

Sanders said she is inspired by her best friend Millershaski’s faith and even nominated her for the Ablah Award because of it.

“She’s always taken her faith as a priority and has always encouraged me to be more active in my faith, seeking out mission trips and even serving in her community,” Sanders said. “She exemplifies the Newman code. She’s always volunteering, always busy and going the extra mile.”

The two went on a trip to Nashville for New Year’s Eve where they attended the Dierks Bentley concert, flew in a helicopter and celebrated both of their graduations.

In reflecting on her friendship with Millershaski, Sanders said “it’s just crazy how at an instant that’s what made us friends.”

“She’s just always my go-to and definitely has been a big part of my life the last couple years,” Sanders added.

(Left to right) Julia Sanders and Hannah Millershaski
(Left to right) Julia Sanders and Hannah Millershaski

As a Newman employee, Sanders was overjoyed to see her best friend graduate at the same university and start the next chapter of her life.

“It’s exciting to see where life takes her and I’m just so incredibly proud of her,” Sanders said. 

Now ready for her next chapter in her life, Millershakski said she is very grateful for her time at Newman. Being able to graduate with her parents and best friend by her side was a bonus. 

“I never thought this day would come, my parents have already cried several times. Not only did we not think that I would ever graduate college, but there were times I didn’t even know if I’d be alive to this day. This day means so much to me because I never thought this would happen,” Millershaski said.

It’s exciting to see where life takes her and I’m just so incredibly proud of her.”

Julia Sanders

Deepen your faith at Newman University

First and foremost, Campus Ministry is a community. Every event and action of ours—whether as big as attending a Catholic conference or as simple as praying or breaking bread together—aims to foster a supportive faith-based community here at Newman University.