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Scholarship Competition Winner Nicolas Luna Anchored by Professors and Peers at Grace

Scholarship competition winner shares thoughts on Grace College and how he won this Presidential Scholarship contest in Indiana.

Going away to college is an exciting rush of new people, new surroundings, and new experiences. But often, all this newness can be overwhelming, and students find themselves looking for a sense of familiarity – something to anchor them. This comes from forming bonds with hallmates, being mentored by caring professors, and creating a “home away from home.”

Nicolas Luna, a full-tuition scholarship competition winner in the Presidential Scholarship Days (PSD), understands this need entirely. Between participating in PSD, beginning a new phase of life, and being immersed in Exercise Science and Health Science classes, Luna’s relationships have anchored him at Grace. 

Attending the Scholarship Competition and Making a Decision

As he began to consider colleges, God made it clear that Grace was where Luna was meant to be. He knew he wanted to major in exercise science with a pre-physicians assistant concentration, but because they are both known to have rigorous classes, Luna was unsure if this combination was even a possibility. Professors of both programs at Grace set up a meeting to establish a plan for Luna to graduate with this degree. The individualized attention and care shown by the professors was unlike anything he had experienced before, (especially since they were doing this for him prior to committing to Grace!) But Luna’s final confirmation that Grace was the school for him was winning the full-tuition scholarship through the Presidential Scholarship Days

Luna’s interview for the scholarship competition was overwhelmingly positive. In his interview, he spoke with Dr. Laurie Owen, a professor in the School of Education. Again, Luna saw a huge difference between his interactions with Owen and his interactions with professors at other colleges. Instead of robotically asking him the pre-set questions, Owen let her warmth and encouragement spill into the conversation, helping to ease his nerves during the interview.

“Dr. Owen’s follow-up questions helped me find a true, honest answer to the questions,” said Luna.

He didn’t know he had received the full-tuition scholarship award until Dr. Mark Pohl, vice president of enrollment management, came to his high school, along with a number of other staff and faculty members and even Grace’s mascot, Sir Red. 

“When the principal came to my class, I thought I was in trouble,” Luna said. “But then I realized that I had won the scholarship and got so excited.”

The scholarship competition came full circle at that moment. All of his efforts had paid off, and this pleasant surprise secured Luna’s decision — he was going to Grace.

Experiencing Spiritual Growth and Development at Grace

Coming from a public high school, Luna found Grace’s atmosphere which promotes spiritual growth and development to be a breath of fresh air. “Praying before classes and labs was something I had never experienced before,” he said.

The small class sizes allow Luna to receive the help he needs and interact with professors on a deeper level. He will never forget the day he asked Christi Walters, who taught his Dynamics of Fitness course, about bringing his faith into his work in the medical field. This simple question led to a dynamic conversation about the intersection of faith and work. 

“I learned that by being personable with patients, I can open a door for them to ask me deeper questions. Even matters of faith,” said Luna.

Luna also thoroughly enjoyed “Exploring the Bible,” a freshman-level Bible class with Professor Pat Park. When Luna told Park that he wasn’t very familiar with Scripture, Park began giving quick summaries of the events in the Bible so that Luna would be able to understand what was going on. 

“I could tell professor Park really took my words to heart and was trying to make the class a better experience for me,” said Luna.

In addition to his professors pouring into him in the classroom, he has experienced tremendous spiritual growth and development outside of the classroom as well. Growing up, he knew about trusting in Jesus, but he had never claimed his faith as his own. During his freshman year, his RA showed special interest in him and took him to Fort Wayne to purchase his first Bible. On the ride there, Luna was able to ask his RA a lot of questions about faith in Christ and gain great insights from him. 

Luna is grateful that God led him to Grace and provided people to surround him during his transition to college. Each professor and peer that he has interacted with has made Grace College feel like home.

“I came here to grow academically as well as spiritually,” says Luna. “If I had gone to a public university, I might have grown in my knowledge, but most likely not in my faith. And that’s what matters most.” 

Are you looking for a place whose professors and students will anchor you as you transition to a Christ-centered college? Fill out our Lancer Application today and check out the requirements to see if you are eligible to participate in the Presidential Scholarship Competition.