Student awarded a scholarship from a health organization

Shanti Kauffman, Hesston, a top social work student, will receive one of the scholarships MHS of Goshen, Ind. awards each year.

MHS (Mennonite Health Services) is a nonprofit organization that supports Mennonites and other faith-based Anabaptist health and social service providers in their leadership and strategic direction.

Each year, four students are eligible to receive the MHS Elmer Ediger Memorial Scholarship, which goes to a sophomore or junior (at the time of application) in college.

Each student receives a $3,000 scholarship to pursue studies in the field of behavioral health or developmental disabilities.

The Elmer Ediger Memorial Scholarship honors a man with many ties to the local community.

Ediger was born near Greensburg, grew up in the Buhler area, and graduated from Bethel College—where he later served on the board, including as president—and Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Chicago.

He was a trustee of Prairie View Mental Health Services in Newton from 1957 to 1972 and executive director until his retirement in September 1983.

He died later that month, just hours before a scheduled tribute was due.

Under his leadership, Prairie View grew from a small private hospital with less than 30 employees to a nationally recognized community mental health center with a staff of 170.

Kauffman’s mother found out about the Ediger scholarship and urged her daughter to apply.

Have the purse ‘go [help me] being able to afford school fees,” Kauffman says, noting that medical bills after her mother’s cancer treatment cost her money.

“It’ll help me be a little less stressed about money, so I can focus on getting my degree and what I’m doing next year.”

Kauffman says she chose to pursue social work “because I want to help people [and] to be a voice for someone who cannot speak.

She plans to get a master’s degree “in the near future, having gained some field experience under my belt.

“I want to work with children and families in the foster system, as well as children who have been adopted. This is close to my heart as I was also adopted and I know how hard it is to feel unloved, unwanted and like I don’t belong.

“I would like to be a support to help [kids] find what they need and be able to make connections.

“It would also be great to work abroad. It’s a field with many opportunities and I hope to do everything I can.

Bethel is a four-year liberal arts college founded in 1887 and is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Recognized for its academic excellence, Bethel ranks 15th in the Washington Monthly list of “Best Bachelor’s Colleges” and #31 in US news and world report, Best Regional Colleges in the Midwest, both for 2021-22. Bethel was the only college or university in Kansas selected for the 2021 American Association of Colleges & Universities Institute on Truthfulness, Racial Healing and Transformation, and was named the TRHT Campus Center. For more information see

Aubrey L. Morgan