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Student wins scholarship from health organization

June 7th, 2022

Shanti Kauffman

Shanti Kauffman, Hesston, a rising senior majoring in social work, will receive one of the academic scholarships that MHS of Goshen, Ind., gives each year.

MHS (Mennonite Health Services) is a not-for-profit organization that supports Mennonite and other Anabaptist faith-grounded health and human service providers in their leadership and strategic direction. 

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

Each student receives a $3,000 award to pursue a degree 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, raised in the Buhler area, and graduated from Bethel College – for which he later served on the board of directors, including as chair – and Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Chicago.

He was administrator of Prairie View Mental Health Services in Newton from 1957-72 and executive director until his retirement in September 1983.

He died later that month, just hours before a planned tribute to him was to take place.

Under his leadership, Prairie View grew from a small private hospital with fewer 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.

Having the scholarship “will [help me] be able to pay for tuition,” Kauffman says, noting medical bills after her mother’s cancer treatment have made money tight.

“This will help me be a little less stressed about money, so I can focus on graduating and what I will be doing next year.”

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

She plans on getting a master’s degree “in the near future, after I have some field experience under my belt.

“I want to work with kids and families in the foster system, as well as kids that have been adopted. This is close to my heart, because I was adopted as well, and I know how hard it is to feel unloved, unwanted and as though I do not belong.

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

“It would also be amazing to work overseas. This is a field with many opportunities and I hope to do as much as I possibly can.”

Bethel is a four-year liberal arts college founded in 1887 and is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Known for academic excellence, Bethel ranks at #15 in the Washington Monthly list of “Best Bachelor’s Colleges” and #31 in U.S. News & World Report, Best Regional Colleges Midwest, both for 2021-22. Bethel was the only Kansas college or university selected for the American Association of College & Universities’ 2021 Institute on Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation, and has been named a TRHT Campus Center. For more information, see

Mission Statement

Bethel College prepares students for meaningful lives of work and service through faith formation, the liberal arts, and practical experience in career pathways.