Newkerk Scholarships Awarded for 2021

Posted on 10/20/21 2:28 PM

Newkerk winners 2021 Abigail and ReaiahThe Department of Student Affairs in Higher Education is pleased to announce two recipients of the Nancy Newkerk Scholarship for 2021: Abigail (Abby) Gontis and Reaiah Rutherford.

Since 1999, the Nancy Newkerk Scholarship has been awarded to deserving second-year SAHE graduate students who demonstrate outstanding contributions to college students, student affairs activities, the SAHE department, and/or the broader higher education community.

Nancy Newkerk served as dean of women at IUP (then Indiana State Teachers College) from 1957 to 1967 and as associate dean of Admissions at IUP from 1978 until her retirement in 1994.  She was awarded the IUP President's Medal of Distinction in 2009. She passed away in 2017.

Newkerk scholarship recipients are selected on the qualities that reflect Nancy Newkerk's own professional career in student affairs: a collaborative colleague, a student-centered practitioner, and a role model for citizenship and civic responsibility.

Abby Gontis is a graduate assistant in the IUP Office of Undergraduate Admissions. She completed a summer practicum in new student orientation at the University of Toledo and is currently a practicum student in the IUP Student Cooperative Association.  Abby serves as vice president of social programming through Associates for Student Development and is known, by her mentors, as someone who centers students and puts her heart into her work.

Reaiah Rutherford is a graduate residence director with the IUP Office of Housing, Residential Living, and Dining. Reaiah completed a summer practicum in new student orientation at IUP and is currently a practicum student in the IUP Office of Student Success and Community Standards.  Reaiah has been active with the IUP Crimson Scholars Circle, a new initiative designed to reduce the retention and persistence gap for Black and Brown students.  One of her supervisors described Reaiah as a strong advocate for her students, working to empower them and, by extension, advance the larger IUP community.

Both Reaiah and Abby were presented their awards and scholarships at the College of Education and Communications’ annual Scholarship Reception on Thursday, October 18, 2021.