Trevecca Nazarene University will award one student with a $1,000 Nina Griggs Gunter Student Leadership Scholarship on Sep. 24, chosen from among four finalists.
The finalists are seniors Jenna Bivens and Mariah Monk; junior, Tynaisia Rush and sophomore, Brianna Givens.
Dr. Carla D. Sunberg, general superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene, will speak during the Sept. 24 chapel. Sunberg is the 2019 recipient of the Nina Griggs Gunter Servant Leadership Award, which will also be presented during the service.
Named for Dr. Nina Griggs Gunter, a 1958 Trevecca graduate and the first female general superintendent in the Church of the Nazarene, the scholarship and award recognize Christian women and female students who are servant leaders. Gunter’s family and friends established the Nina Griggs Gunter Leadership Fund in 2008 as a way to recognize Gunter’s significant impact on the Church of the Nazarene and honor her as a role model.
To be considered for the scholarship, students must be nominated. Nominees must be female students who embody various aspects of servant leadership, including a dedication to following Christ through service, garnering respect among peers and faculty as well as demonstrating a spirit of service.
A committee comprised of faculty, administrators and a representative of the Gunter family then narrows the field before selecting the recipient of the $1,000 scholarship.
Each of this year’s four finalists serve in leadership roles on Trevecca’s campus and in the community. They all shared a feeling of surprise and honor when they learned they’d been nominated for the award.
“I am really honored and was kind of surprised to be a finalist,” Monk said. “It felt nice to be appreciated for the work I’ve tried to put in the last three years.”
Monk, who grew up in the Nazarene Church says she hopes to follow in Gunter’s footsteps.
“[Nina Gunter] has been a role model, and I strive to be a superintendent just like she was,” she said.
Tynaisia Rush, a junior majoring organizational communications major and the co-founder of Walden, a club dedicated to creating community and leadership among African American students, echoed Monk’s sentiments.
“I didn’t know what it was or how I got nominated,” she said. “You do stuff and don’t know if it’s being seen, so to be recognized— I can’t believe I’m being nominated.”
Jenna Bivens, a senior exercise science major, also grew up in the Church of the Nazarene and knows the impact that Nina Gunter has brought to women in the Nazarene community.
“This award validates that women in leadership within the Nazarene church are recognized, and we should continue to empower women to be in leadership,” she said. “I’m happy that I was seen as someone who embodies that and want to encourage that for future women coming into Trevecca.”
Givens, the only sophomore to be nominated, sees the significance in recognizing women in leadership positions in the church.
“So often, servant leadership is overlooked and that’s what this award represents,” said Givens. “To have women recognized in the church is so important. Women have tender hearts but also a strong work ethic that can impact so many.”
The recipient of the $1,000 scholarship will be announced during the 9:30 a.m. chapel service on Sep. 24 in the Boone Convocation Center.