UMC Scholarship Recipients Named


Twenty-eight students from Western PA United Methodist congregations have been awarded a total of $39,092 in college or seminary scholarships for the 2016-17 school year from the UMC’s General Board of Higher Education and Ministries (GBHEM).

They are among 2,300 students who received a total of $5 million in financial assistance for 2016 through the UMC Office of Scholarships and Loans! Congregations and individuals provide a portion of the funding through gifts in recognition of United Methodist Student Day (Nov. 27, 2016), World Communion Sunday, and Native American Ministries Sunday. The remaining funds for these awards come from gifts, annuities and endowments GBHEM has invested and administered for decades.  

Western Pennsylvania recipients of $1000 Rev. Dr. Karen Layman Gift of Hope Scholarships are:

  • Kara Bowser of Trinity UMC in Brackenridge, who attends the U.S. Military Academy
  • Carrie Freed of Baden UMC, who attends Ohio Northern University
  • Megan Handy of South Greensburg UMC, who attends the University of Pittsburgh
  • Amanda Hunt of Butler First UMC, who attends Grove City College
  • Brianna Kadlecik of West Washington UMC, who attends Indiana University of Pennsylvania
  • Bethany Lenox of Glenwood UMC who attends D'Youville College
  • Sara Meade of Heritage UMC in Ligonier, who attends Muhlenberg College
  • Jonathan Saxman of Oakland UMC, Oil City, who attends Robert Morris University
  • Joshua Seyler of Galloway UMC, who attends Grove City College
  • Shelby Seyler of Galloway UMC, who attends Westminster College
  • Teresa Shields of Blairsville First UMC, who attends Edinboro University
  • Ben Tyler of Zion UMC in Sarver, who attends Slippery Rock University
  • Anna Wilson of Zion UMC in Sarver, who attends Mt. Union University
Three Allegheny College students received $1800 Elvina Jane Owens Scholarships:  
  • Jeannie Choi of Bentleyville UMC 
  • Laura McClain of Jefferson UMC
  • Kristi Sestak of Grace UMC in Grove City.
Receiving United Methodist General Scholarships of $1,500, $1,000 or $800 are:
  • Jessica Kennedy of Cabot UMC, who attends Asbury Seminary
  • Grace Killian of Mt. Lebanon UMC, who attends Harvard Divinity School
  • Danielle Munksgard of Warren Grace UMC, who attends the University of Pittsburgh
  • Dylan Parson of Slippery Rock UMC, attending Duke Divinity School
  • Joel Peterson of Trinity UMC in Ridgeway, a student at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Other seminary scholarship recipients are:
  • Nicole Crouch of Christ Church in Erie, the John Q. Schisler Scholarship of $2500 to attend Wesley Theological Seminary
  • Ea Kyoung Jun of Mt. Lebanon UMC, who received a $2500 HANA Scholarship to attend Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Receiving UM Allocation Awards, in amounts ranging from $834 to $5000, were: 
  • Olivia Kisker of Christ UMC in Bethel Park, who attends Syracuse University
  • Emmale Johnston of Harmony-Zelienople UMC, who attends Mount Union University
  • Shaun Phillips of First UMC in Irwin, who attends West Virginia Wesleyan College
  • Darby Rupp of Mumford Chapel, who attends Allegheny College
  • Anna Wilson of Zion UMC in Sarver, who attends Mt. Union University
Receiving the Baxter Roelfson Sands Scholarship of $1000 was Tiffany Choi of Houston UMC, a student at Allegheny College.

Receiving the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference Merit Award of $525 was Anna Wilson of Zion UMC in Sarver.

"We have many applicants who did not receive a scholarship due to lack of funds," said Allyson Ollinsworth of GBHEM. If your church wants to partner to make a difference for more students, contact Bruce Blumer at

Students who are members of The United Methodist Church may apply for a Fall 2017 GBHEM scholarship online between January 3, 2017 – March 1, 2017 at Student loans are also available at interest rates as low as 3.75 percent (lower than federal educational loan rates) with a credit worthy co-signer.  Learn more about UMC scholarships and loans at