John Brown University Names Five Presidential Scholars

Incoming Freshmen Offered Total of $2.4 Million in Competitive Academic Scholarships

SILOAM SPRINGS, ARK. (Jan. 29, 2016) – John Brown University announced this week the recipients of the university’s most prestigious Presidential Scholarship. The $100,000 scholarship, awarded over four years, is reserved for incoming students who demonstrate great academic, social and spiritual enthusiasm.

“This year’s scholarship competition was the largest and most competitive in university history,” said Don Crandall, vice president for enrollment. “We were so impressed by the qualifications and insight of each of the students participating this year.”

JBU awarded Presidential Scholarships to Alec Doerksen of Wichita, Kan., Evyn McGraw of Greenville, Texas, Elliot Jones of Little Rock, Ark., Liisa Salomaa of Rogers, Ark. and Brock Ringel of Sheboygan, Wi

Alec Doerksen is a senior at Maize South High School in Witchita, Kan. and plans to study biochemistry. Doerksen’s goal to pursue a doctorate in cardio thoracic surgery and work full-time for an organization like Doctors without Borders is partly inspired by his current job as a certified nursing assistant at an assisted-living home. He is also the drum major in his high school marching band and competes in triathlons.

Evyn McGraw is a homeschooled, National Merit Commended Student from Greenville, Texas, who focuses her energy on community involvement within her church. McGraw is currently teaching art lessons to elementary students and working with her youth group to fundraise and prepare for an upcoming missions trip to Munich, Germany. McGraw is a storyteller through the written word and through visual media. Though she is legally blind, she creates with what she calls “colorful passion.” McGraw intends on pursuing a double major in English and illustration.

Elliot Jones is a senior at Little Rock Christian Academy and plans to study graphic design at JBU. After college, Jones hopes to start his own graphic and web design company. Jones is an artist, musician and leader, having been consistently placed in leadership roles in both his school and his church. Jones currently plays drums and bass guitar in his church’s worship bands, plays soccer for LRCA and has performed in both All Region and All State choirs during high school.

LIisa Salomaa is a senior at Providence Classical Christian Academy in Rogers, Ark. Having worked as a warrants assistant at the Benton County Jail and Sherriff’s Office during her senior year, Salomaa plans to study family and human services at JBU to go into correctional social work or public defense after she graduates. Salomaa has also worked at Camp Barnabas, a camp for children and adults with disabilities, for three summers. She is a freelance photographer, president of the PCCA Scooter Club, co-founder of the Chemistry Club and has served as a foreign exchange student ambassador at her school.  

Brock Ringel is a senior at Sheboygan County Christian High School and is planning to study construction management at JBU. Ringel is actively involved in his church and local community and is known for his servant leadership and humble attitude. Ringel leads a group of his peers in a discipleship group at church and recently took a two-week missions trip to the Dominican Republic where he worked with hunger relief ministries.

To be invited to attend JBU’s scholarship competition weekend, students must submit an application, essays, test scores and high school GPA. Of the applicants, JBU invited 194 students to campus Jan. 24-25 for the rigorous interview process.Those students not selected for the Presidential Scholarship were considered for the Chancellor’s Scholarship which awards $51,000 over four years.

In total, JBU awarded five Presidential Scholarship and over 100 Chancellor’s Scholarships totaling approximately $2.4 million in competitive academic scholarships for the incoming freshmen class of 2016.

John Brown University is a leading private Christian university, training students to honor God and serve others since 1919. Ranked No. 2 among Southern regional colleges by U.S. News, JBU enrolls more than 2,700 students from 42 states and 39 countries in its traditional undergraduate, graduate, degree completion and concurrent education programs. JBU offers more than 50 majors, with top programs including business administration, graphic design, engineering, construction management, counseling, teacher education and nursing.


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