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Your scholarship program at work

Scholarshipsby Valora K Starr

Two of the greatest challenges to returning to school in today’s economy are mapping out a financial plan and completing the scholarship application process.

Today, applicants must balance applying and securing multiple scholarships. If all applications are not successful, most students often have to make the decision to go forward one semester at a time.

The women who established what we now know as Women of the ELCA scholarships for laywomen and women seeking ordination were looking forward. They were imagining more than just a vehicle for financial assistance. They wanted a way for women to connect to a community that will support them as they grow in faith and make a difference in the church, society and the world.

For the 2016-17 school year, Women of the ELCA awarded $20,700 to 15 women.

Although, these scholarship funds were started years ago, your offerings continue to help applicants keep pace with the economy and cost of tuition.

Awards for the 2016-2017 school year were awarded from the Chilstrom Fund Ordained Ministry (for women who are second career students at ELCA seminaries preparing for ordained ministry in the ELCA) or from the Women of the ELCA Funds for Laywomen Opportunity (for ELCA laywomen who have had an interruption in undergraduate, graduate, professional or vocational studies).

This category awards scholarships from the Cronk, First Triennium Board, General, Mehring, Paepke, Piero Wade, Edwin/Edna Robeck Funds, Belmer, Kahler, Prince, Vickers-Raup, Wettstein, Drinkall, Arne, Kemp, Schmeider, Franke/Knudstrup, Norma Zack Currie, Lombardi, Wassman Laywomen Opportunity funds.

Learn more about Women of the ELCA’s scholarship program and how to support it.


Women of the ELCA will begin accepting completed applications December 15, 2016, for the 2017-2018 school year. The deadline for accepting applications is February 15, 2017. Scholarships are awarded in May 2017.



 2016-17 scholarships awarded

Chilstrom Fund Ordained Ministry Scholarship            

Assists women who are second career students at ELCA seminaries preparing for ordained ministry in ELCA congregations.

Jennifer Michael (9F)
Wartburg Theological Seminary

Cronk Funds Laywomen Opportunity Scholarship

Assists ELCA laywomen who have had an interruption in undergraduate, graduate, professional or vocational studies.

Haley Armstrong (4A)
Elkhorn, Neb.
Marketing, MS
Bellevue University

Erica E. Berg (3B)
Moorhead, Minn.
Nursing Education, MS
Western Governors University

Betsy Borseth (4C)
Yukon, Okla.
Political Science, Ph.D
University of North Texas

Sarah Brock (3F)
Litchfield, Minn.
Physician Assistant, MS
Des Moines University

Sarah M. Desjarlais (3B)
Dilworth, Minn.
Dental Hygiene, MS
University of Bridgeport Connecticut, Fones School of Dental Hygiene

Kara Farrow (4C)
Tulsa, Okla.
M.Div (not seeking ordination)
Phillips Theological Seminary

Tara Gilbert (6F)
Marysville, Ohio
Christian Ministries-Youth Ministry, BS
Indiana Wesleyan University

Yvonne Offill (2C)
Claremont, Calif.
Nursing, MS
Azusa Pacific University

Jennifer Pencek (8C)
State College, Penn.
Higher Education-student engagement, M.Ed
Pennsylvania State University

Mialy Rabe (9B)
Raleigh, N.C.
International Relations, MA
North Carolina State University

Victoria Remer (3B)         
Grand Forks, N.D.
Journalism-Strategic Communication and English, BA
University of Kansas

Jessica A. Rico (4F)
College Station, Texas
Public Health, MS
Texas A&M University

Beth Allen Slevcove (2C)
San Diego, Calif.
Clinical Pastoral Education-Chaplaincy Training
Sharp Hospital

Sherrie J. Squires (7C)
Brooklyn, N.Y.
Theology, MA
Southwest Bible College & Seminary

Valora K Starr, director of discipleship for Women of the ELCA, oversees the scholarship program.


Photo by Luke Milliron | CC BY-NC-ND