ELKINS - Jenna Burnett, a 2016 graduate of Philip Barbour High School, has been selected as the first recipient of the Morrison-Novakovic Faith and Public Policy Scholarship at Davis & Elkins College. In addition, Burnett was presented with a Highlands Scholarship bringing her total award to $114,508 for four years.
Burnett is the daughter of Jeff and Kimberly Burnett of Belington, W.Va. She plans to study nursing at Davis & Elkins College beginning this fall.
“I am delighted to welcome Jenna Burnett as our first Morrison-Novakovic Scholar, and we anticipate great things from her and from this exciting new scholarship and program,” says Dr. Bryan Wagoner, director of the Morrison-Novakovic Center for Faith and Public Policy and assistant professor of philosophy and religious studies at Davis & Elkins.
The Morrison-Novakovic Faith and Public Policy Scholarship was established at Davis & Elkins College this year by Trustee David Morrison and his wife, Phebe Novakovic. Students are accepted for the renewable $10,000 annual award based on evidence of strong scholarship; respect and concern for the role and impact of faith traditions on our interdependent world; evidence of activities focusing on faith, ethics, public policy, sustainability and service; and evidence of deep interest in life’s “big questions,” including philosophy, comparative religion, justice and environment.
The Morrison-Novakovic Center for Faith and Public Policy, located on the Davis & Elkins College campus, will open with the start of the 2016-2017 academic year. The theme house will serve as a residence for eight students giving them the opportunity to expand learning beyond the classroom by examining issues that affect society as a whole. The Center also will provide an open space where students, faculty, visiting scholars and others can explore issues of faith, and social and public policy. Programming will develop around five broad themes: faith traditions, public policy, ethics, sustainability and service. The students will also engage in local community service projects.
“I am eager to begin participating in the Morrison-Novakovic discussions and house activities; it is an honor to be admitted into a collegiate organization before the semester even begins,” Burnett says. “I look forward to engaging in the various seminars and events, and I hope that I can contribute to the research and forum in which I will be involved at the Center for Faith and Public Policy.”
Active in community service for the past seven years, Burnett is a member of children’s ministries and worship teams at Horizons Church Barbour County where her father is the pastor. Among her volunteer contributions are teaching lessons and providing care to children during Sunday services, leading a monthly worship team, playing violin and assisting in vocals, and working with church maintenance. In addition, she serves alongside her church family in various community outreach projects.
“I feel that it is important that young adults take time to serve society without any form of repayment,” Burnett says. “Through these efforts, you are given the opportunity to learn about the world outside of your own, and you can contribute your abilities for the greater good of others. Not only are you better prepared to be a global citizen, but there is often a degree of self-satisfaction involved.”
In further expressing and living those values, Burnett says she chose to study nursing because it is her calling to love and serve others before herself as a Christian.
“I know that a single person can have a powerful impact on a multitude of people – spiritually or emotionally – and as a nurse, I will be given that opportunity time and time again,” she explains.
Related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Davis & Elkins College is located in Elkins, 2 hours east of Charleston, 3 hours south of Pittsburgh and 4 hours west of Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit the College website at www.dewv.edu or call 304-637-1243.
Photo Caption: Davis & Elkins College Admission Counselor Adam Kota, second from left, congratulates Jenna Burnett, second from right, on receiving the first Morrison-Novakovic Faith and Public Policy Scholarship. Burnett’s selection was announced at the Philip Barbour High School awards ceremony. Also attending the presentation were Burnett’s father, Jeff Burnett, and mother, Kimberly Burnett.