Jennifer Bentz Awarded $8,500 Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship


Jennifer Bentz in front of University of St. Louis School of Medicine building

Jennifer Bentz, a Berea College alumna of Maryville, Tennessee, received a Fellowship worth $8,500 by The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi (PKP)—the nation’s oldest collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. Bentz is one of 58 recipients nationwide to receive a Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship.

Bentz received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Berea College earlier this year. As a Phi Kappa Phi Fellow, Bentz will pursue a Doctor of Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

“I am so honored and grateful to have been awarded this fellowship,” Bentz said. “I knew when I chose to pursue a medical degree that it would entail both hard work and some significant financial burdens, and I really appreciate that this fellowship rewards the first and lessens the second.”

An outstanding student at Berea College, Bentz was one of the student Vice Presidents of Berea Chapter of PKP, maintained a 4.0 GPA, scored in the 98th percentile on the MCAT, and was one of only four students ever to earn an A+ in a particularly difficult anatomy and physiology class. As an undergraduate, Bentz spent three summers engaged in research and internships, including participation in Vanderbilt’s Aspirnaut program.

Phi Kappa Phi Fellowships are part of the Society’s robust awards program, which gives nearly $1 million each year to outstanding members and students on chapter campuses through study abroad grants, dissertation fellowships, funding for post-baccalaureate development, member and chapter awards, and grants for local, national and international literacy initiatives.

“We are proud of carrying on the strong representation of Berea students in receiving this fellowship,” said Dr. Cindy McGaha, Berea’s PKP president. “Jennifer served as one of our student vice presidents for two years and always represented PKP in a strong light. We were all so happy to see her win this award that she so justly deserves.

Since beginning in 1932, the Fellowship Program has become one of PKP’s most visible and financially well-supported endeavors, allocating $615,000 annually to outstanding students for first-year graduate or professional study. The selection process for a fellowship is based on the applicant’s evidence of graduate potential, undergraduate academic achievement, service and leadership experience, letters of recommendation, personal statement of educational perspective and career goals, and acceptance in an approved graduate or professional program.

Categories: News, People
Tags: alumni, Biology Department, Phi Kappa Phi

Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. The College only admits academically promising students with limited financial resources—primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia—but welcomes students from 40 states and 70 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which means no Berea student pays for tuition. Berea is one of nine federally recognized Work Colleges, so students work 10 hours or more weekly to earn money for books, housing and meals. The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” speaks to its inclusive Christian character.