St. John Henry Newman scholarships awarded to five students


Newman University has selected five students to receive its most prestigious scholarship, the St. John Henry Newman Scholarship, for the upcoming 2020/2021 academic year.

The scholarship is a full-tuition award renewable for four years. Applicants are required to complete an online application, which includes the submission of a personal résumé, a picture, two professional or academic references, and a 30-60 second video explaining why they want to attend Newman University. They also complete an on-site essay and in-person interview with representatives from a selection committee.

This year’s recipients are Joshua Dessenberger, Elise Helfrich, Luke Sanders, Alexis Stallard and Hope Strickbine. All five students are deeply honored, and each have their own reasons to be excited about attending Newman next fall. 

Joshua Dessenberger, from Valley Center, Kansas, is considering a medical profession and felt that Newman would be best for his path. 

In high school, Dessenberger was active in band and student council and played basketball and tennis in addition to being in community organizations such as Boy Scouts and his church’s youth group.

Dessenberger said, “I looked at all the medical programs around Kansas and I was originally looking at KU (University of Kansas) but realized the class sizes are too big. I’d feel like a number there. But I saw Newman and saw its small class sizes and this community, and I was like, ‘Yeah, I may apply to there and see what I can get done.’”

Joshua Dessenberger posing with members of the cheer and dance team.

Luke Sanders, from Colwich, Kansas, also loved the smaller community provided at Newman.

Luke Sanders with his full-tuition check

Sanders played football, ran track, tutored chemistry and math and has been a part of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. 

“The biggest thing was the low student to faculty ratio,” said Sanders. “I’m pre-med; I want to become a surgeon one day. Newman does have the best pre-med (program) in Kansas, really. So I mean this is just great. It was my first choice for college.”

Alexis Stallard, from Derby, Kansas, felt that her background at Kapaun High School prepared her well for college and that Newman will prepare her just as well for graduate school.

At Kapaun, Stallard was the field manager for football as well as head film manager. She bowled, threw javelin for track, played in band and sang in her school’s madrigals group.

“It was surreal when I got the call from Georgia (Drewes),” she said. “I was just like, ‘This isn’t happening,’ and it still hasn’t fully set in that I’m this lucky to be able to get such a great education, in such an easy way and that really helps me and my family out.”

Alexis Stallard was presented with her check after Mass.

Hope Strickbine, from the Wichita area, will be majoring in biochemistry and has a lot to look forward to in the fall semester, from the honors program to the community in general.

Strickbine is a green belt in tae kwon do, a member of the Ninnescah Sailing Association and the Farha Soccer League and has performed in productions of “The Women of Troy” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

She said, “I came on a tour and I got to meet Dr. (Kelly) McFall and I absolutely love the honors program — that’s what really made me want to come here. I love the community and the family feel that I’ve seen here.”

Hope Strickbine was presented with her check at halftime of the women’s basketball game on homecoming night.

Elise Helfrich, from Wright, Kansas, who will major in biology, is incredibly appreciative of the scholarship and looks forward to receiving her education from Newman.

Helfrich has been in her school’s band, serving as the co-captain of her drill team and has played basketball, volleyball and softball. 

“I applied to Newman because, obviously, it has an outstanding academic program and I know it can get me a great headstart for graduate school and beyond. Also, it’s a Catholic college so I will have lots of opportunities to grow in my faith and grow closer to God.”

These five students look to the future with anticipation, each with their own hopes and aspirations for their time at Newman.

The admissions team traveled to Dodge City, Kansas, to congratulate Elise Helfrich on earning the St. John Henry Newman scholarship.


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