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Nursing student wins statewide scholarship

November 18th, 2021

Christina Marr receives the Irv Hoffman Nursing Scholarship for 2021

Christina Marr, senior nursing major from Kechi, Kan., was awarded the Kansas Silver Haired Legislature’s Irv Hoffman Nursing Scholarship for 2021.

Any current nursing student from a Kansas school of nursing is eligible for the $1,000 scholarship, which is given based on the student’s resume and a 500-word essay on the topic “How I can contribute to the care of older adults.”

Marr serves in the U.S. Army Reserves – since 2017, as a member of the Medical Support Unit and as a Combat Medic Specialist.

Within the Reserves, she has completed professional training including a variety of leadership courses and the Ask, Care, Escort Suicide Intervention (ACE SI) course.

She has numerous certifications, among them Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and Medical Assistant.

“With her experience and commitment, Christina will be an excellent nurse,” said KSHL President Russ Boelling.

Said Cynthia Nelson, co-chair of the KSHL Scholarship Committee, “We are pleased to select Christina as this year’s scholarship winner. The decision was very difficult, as we had several excellent applicants.”

Boelling, Nelson and KSHL Speaker Randall Hardy came to campus Nov. 8 to present Marr with the scholarship certificate and check.

While serving as a medic during the Iraq War, Marr said, she “saw firsthand situations that will require a lifetime of medical [care].”

It has been documented, she noted, that senior veterans have a higher prevalence of cancer diagnoses, heart attack, coronary heart disease and stroke, compared to senior civilians.

They are more likely to suffer the effects of environmental exposure (e.g., toxins from burn pits), mental health issues (e.g., Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and socioeconomic factors (e.g., homelessness).

“From my own experiences, I believe I can empathize better with the needs of older adults,” Marr said. “What I want to contribute to the care of older adults is not just treating the disease, but having an understanding and rapport with that person.

“There are instances that what a military member may have been exposed to in combat 30 to 40 years ago has a direct effect on the diagnosis that they are battling today. It is that exposure that creates their story.”

Hardy added, “The current shortage of nurses impacts the care of [all] older Kansans. We are glad [the KSHL is] able to make a small contribution toward graduating new Kansas nurses.”

The Kansas Silver Haired Legislature was created in 1982 by resolution of the Kansas Senate, creating a unicameral legislature comprising up to 125 volunteer delegates (one from each Kansas county plus five additional representing the most populous counties of Johnson, Sedgwick, Shawnee and Wyandotte), all 60 or older and elected from their county of residence.

The KSHL identifies issues of importance to Kansans over age 60 and educates the Kansas Legislature about those issues, and also works to help older Kansans understand the legislative process and how it affects their communities. For more information about the KSHL, see

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As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.