Bonner program prepares to select incoming students

Admitted students day this weekend occured Saturday, Feb. 22. It had campus a buzz with potential freshman becoming acquainted with campus life and competing for scholarships. 

One of these scholarships, the Bonner Scholarship, brought in 35 applicants Saturday to interview for a chance to receive one of 15 spots.

“This weekend provides such an exciting day,” Kelley Hardie, assistant dean of Student Services said. “We get to interview future Bonners and future students meet their incoming class.” 

Interviews take place every year on admitted students day for incoming recipients of Bonner Scholarship. It is a scholarship that encompasses a key component of Waynesburg University’s mission, service. 

“The bottom line is we look at the right fit for the program, and that is someone with a servant’s heart. But we must take into account other factors to abide by the foundations rules,” Hardie explained.

This year, the interview process experienced a few new twists thanks to Avery White, a Waynesburg Graduate Assistant, who has been able to contribute his educational skills and experiences. 

Avery constructed a brand new rubric that was used to assess individual interviews in order to maintain consistency and eliminate any discrepancies or discrimination. He used his degree in business management and human resource skills to create this product.

“Something I learned in HR is that you have to have a consistent process to show proof that you are doing the same thing for every single person,” White said. “The group interview process has also been streamlined so students can get everything in in an hour and a half.”

Interviewees are assessed based off of an individual interview followed by a group interview and activity. This activity is also an addition that can be accredited to White. He introduced a LEGO building activity that he got from Crossroads youth group.

“We have an activity that is going to be a little more fun for them and should ease their nerves,” White said. “We are going to give them the task of something to build and they have to complete that as a group.”

The second round of the activity will include a challenge that the students must overcome in order to complete their assigned building task. This could be anything from losing the use of their dominant hand or losing their ability to talk. 

“We want to see the followers rise to be leaders. We are really using it to see how they communicate and how they handle stressful situations,” White said. 

Current Bonners assisting with facilitation of the interview process this weekend said competition this year was tight. 

“This is when we decide our incoming class so these few days are critically important in the future of our incoming Bonner class,” Hardie said. 

Recipients will be chosen and notified within the upcoming weeks. Those associated with the Bonner program hope to see it continue to grow and flourish thanks to the students who represent and carry its title.

“I’ve really enjoyed working with Kelley, Adrienne and college students,” White shared. “I hope to continue updating the expectations of the program. We should keep being real about what we expect from incoming students and what we hope they will grow to be.”