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Whitworth chemistry major awarded full-tuition scholarship from Woodrow Foundation

October 16, 2009
Rebecca Johnson, a junior at Whitworth University, has been awarded the prestigious Woodrow Foundation Scholarship. The $29,280 scholarship covers Johnson's tuition and books for the 2009-10 academic year.

"Winning this scholarship is very significant to continuing my education as a pre-med student," says Johnson, a chemistry major on the biochemistry track with a minor in music. "I have many more years of education ahead of me in medical school, and this scholarship has given me confidence to keep going when the classes become even more difficult."

Originally from West Linn, Ore., and now a resident of San Diego, Johnson plans to study osteopathic medicine. She's considering pursuing the field of infectious disease, both in her research and her work with patients, which led her to work at an AIDS camp last summer. Johnson says she's not sure whether she will pursue her dream locally or internationally, and says that her main goal is to help those who are forgotten or overlooked by their societies.

During her years at Whitworth, Johnson has been active in Good Deeds for Trees, Cup of Cool Water, the Bonner Leadership Program, and the Whitworth Wind Symphony, and she has served in a leadership position at En Christo. She credits the organizations, specifically those that aim to help the homeless, with providing a large part of her off-campus education. In Oregon, she worked at an assisted-living facility and volunteered at Doernbecher Children's Hospital, in Portland.

"Volunteering with the poor and homeless has changed my worldview," Johnson says. "It's not about giving people a lunch as much as it is about loving people for who they are, having conversations with them, and letting them know that they are important and have a purpose."

Kerry Breno, assistant professor of chemistry at Whitworth, says Johnson's diverse interests and demonstration of campus leadership make her highly qualified for the scholarship. As Johnson's professor and adviser, Breno describes her as a well-rounded student who is organized, efficient and dynamic.

"Rebecca is highly qualified for the scholarship," Breno says. "She has tremendous potential for success in all her endeavors. I am very pleased that she is the winner of this year's Woodrow Foundation Scholarship."

The Woodrow Foundation Scholarship is awarded each academic year to one student at Whitworth University. To be eligible for the scholarship, students must have a 3.75 or higher GPA, demonstrated leadership skills, and high financial need. Students are nominated by an academic department; the nominations are reviewed by a university committee that selects five finalists. The final selection is made by US Bank, which serves as the trustee for the Leon Woodrow estate.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,700 students, offers 55 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Nancy Morlock, assistant director/scholarship coordinator of financial aid, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4378 or

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or