Two William Woods University freshmen are recipients of the Theresa and Bernie Vonderschmitt Scholarship, an honor based on accomplishments and potential in the equestrian field. The award entitles them to full tuition scholarships to study equestrian science.
Amanda Seitter of Peculiar, Mo., and Kristen Asher of Deckerville, Mich., join current students Sarah MacKenna of New London, N.H.; Jesse West of Gaston, Ore., and Brittany White of Elk Rapids, Mich., as fellow Vonderschmitt Scholars.
The scholarship focuses on a mentor relationship with faculty. Students develop yearly goals outside of the realm of class, and work toward them as the year progresses. The pursuit of these goals could include anything from internships and independent study to managing events such as horse shows, participating in clinics or seminars, or working with an equine specialist. Recently a scholar was able to scrub in on an equine surgery. The goals assist students by enhancing their preparation for a career in the equestrian field.
Annually the students present their progress through written reports and meetings with their mentors. They record their experiences in a journal throughout their four years and during senior year they give a presentation of the entire experience.
Seitter is the daughter of Gregory and Dana Seitter and a 2008 graduate of Raymore-Peculiar High School with a 3.6 GPA. She has 11 years of experience with horses, including seven years of show experience. She has been a member of the Raymore 4-H for four years and the Peculiar Tenderfoot Saddle Club for seven years. She was the 2007-2008 Junior Leader of Raymore 4-H Horsemanship Project.
Asher, daughter of Tom and Deann Asher, graduated in 2008 from Deckerville High School with a 3.2 GPA. She has been riding and showing horses her entire life. In high school she helped the FFA Horse Judging Team to a state championship title. The team participated in national competition in October.
Asher was also on her high school’s equestrian team for four years, leading the team to two Reserve State Championships, and placing third at state the other two years. All four years of high school Asher placed first team All Districts and in 2007 was named the high point rider. She is also involved in 4-H and gives lessons to 4-H participants during the summer.
According to Sarah MacKenna, a senior, both Seitter and Asher have much to look forward to as Vonderschmitt Scholars.
“It has opened up so many doors for me that I wouldn’t have had just coming to classes…It’s really helped me to learn time management skills,” said MacKenna.
MacKenna arrived at WWU with years of horse experience, but says she has learned an immeasurable amount from her past three years.
Jesse West, a junior, is in his second year as a Vonderschmitt Scholar, and agrees that it is a great opportunity.
“It has given me a lot of great experiences and I have met so many people…it has given me a lot of great connections,” said West.
Brittany White, a junior, has ridden horses her entire life, beginning formal lessons at age 10. White is in her second year as a Vonderschmitt Scholar, and is also very grateful for the opportunity.
“The Vonderschmitt is such an amazing scholarship, and I feel so privileged to have it. Having the scholarship has taught me about the business end of the industry as well as the teaching and training part,” said White.
“I feel that with Theresa’s help I will be able to fulfill my potential in the equestrian industry, and am very grateful to her for all that she has done and continues to do for us here at William Woods.”
Theresa Vonderschmitt is a member of the William Woods University Board of Trustees. Since taking an interest in horses as an adult, she has become a skilled rider and avid horse show exhibitor.
She has attended many equestrian clinics at WWU and has served on the university’s Board of Equestrian Visitors.
A generous person, Vonderschmitt has established several scholarships for William Woods equestrian science majors. When she’s not riding or showing horses, she manages more than 50 limited partnerships and a portfolio of investments in more than 200 companies. She also serves as a member of the Board of Japan Communications, Inc., a mobile communications company based in Japan.
CUTLINE:Vonderschmitt Scholars at William Woods University are (left to right) Kristen Asher of Deckerville, Minn.; Amanda Seitter of Peculiar, Mo.; Sarah MacKenna of New London, N.H.; Brittany White of Elk Rapids, Mich., and Jesse West of Gaston, Ore.