SMWC awards top scholarships to freshmen

News | 08.25.2017
SMTG Scholarship winners in Le Fer Hall
The new Saint Mother Theodore Guerin scholars (Left to right): Caroline Steinrock, Bridget Gutish, Taylor Gardner, Marissa McCalister, Allee Taylor and Abigail King.

Six intelligent, civic-minded and eager learners earned the top scholarships at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) this academic year.

Indiana residents and SMWC freshmen Abigail King of Indianapolis, Allee Taylor of Bargesville, Bridget Gutish of Terre Haute, Caroline Steinrock of Columbus, Marissa McCalister of West Terre Haute, and Taylor Gardner of Lyons received the Saint Mother Theodore Guerin Scholarship, the most prestigious award at SMWC, named after the College’s foundress.

Two of the students were chosen to receive full tuition scholarship and four were given $18,000 scholarships each, all renewable for four years. During a scholars meeting on Monday at Le Fer Hall, the students also received a laptop or a tablet as part of the award.

King, a graduate of Roncalli High School, said she has a personal connection to the scholarship program because of a former teacher who led her class everyday in praying the Saint Mother Theodore Guerin prayer. When she got to high school and discovered the scholarship, “I felt like a personal calling to it,” she said. The program connects her to this teacher and her faith, she added.

The nursing major and passionate volunteer (she proudly completed more than the required volunteer hours at her high school), received the full tuition scholarship.

Tracy Richardson standing with Justine Gibson
Musician of Promise Scholarship recipient Justine Gibson with Tracy Richardson, Ph.D., chairperson of the Department of Music and Theatre.

Another scholar, Gutish, a graduate of Terre Haute North Vigo High School, was honored to have been chosen for the full tuition scholarship. In high school, she was a student leader and a mentor; she also volunteered her time and talents as a choir member and Sunday school teacher at her church, St. Joseph University Parish. “I went to a Catholic elementary school here in Terre Haute and because SMWC was so close and Saint Mother Theodore Guerin was so prominent, we took a lot of field trips out here. So, I did know about her from a young age,” she said.

“But when I applied for this scholarship, I learned a lot about her and she’s really an incredible woman.”

The education major said there are two traits possessed by Saint Mother Theodore Guerin she would like to develop more in herself: optimism and perseverance. “I think those are two skills that can really get you far in life,” Gutish said.

To apply for the Saint Mother Theodore Guerin Scholarship, students submitted an essay on how they intend to embody the values of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin and a letter of recommendation. They also participated in an interview process on campus. Scholarships are based on those application materials, along with other criteria such as academics, community involvement and extracurricular activities.

Tracy Richardson standing with Valerie Haley
Musician of Promise Scholarship recipient Valerie Haley with Tracy Richardson, Ph.D., chairperson of the Department of Music and Theatre.

The scholars form a community on campus that carries the values of Saint Mother Theodore: faith in Providence, quality education, persistence in service, reflection and mentorship. In addition to maintaining a good academic standing, scholars attend faith formation meetings and complete a required number of service hours each month, among other requirements.

SMWC awards a number of scholarships to its students every year. In a short presentation on Aug. 17 at the Conservatory of Music, music therapy students Justine Gibson of Terre Haute and Valerie Haley of Burrows, were officially recognized as this year’s recipients of the Musician of Promise Scholarship.

The Musician of Promise Scholarship is awarded to first-time freshmen pursuing a degree in music or music therapy. Criteria includes an outstanding audition, academic performance in high school, an essay and an interview. The scholarship is $18,000 toward the cost of tuition.