1780 – The Official Blog of Transylvania University

1780 | The Official Blog of Transylvania University

Transylvania student receives prestigious Shearer Scholarship for full senior-year tuition 

student on campus

Transylvania junior Jenna Welch has been awarded the university’s 2024 Charles and Susan Shearer Scholarship, which will pay her tuition and general fees next school year.

The biology major from Louisville was selected for her academic excellence, leadership, strength of character and contributions to campus life. Welch, who plans to be a physician assistant, has maintained a 4.0 GPA her entire time at Transylvania while serving her classmates and community through various organizations and as an Embedded Learning Forum fellow.

Transylvania faculty praised Welch as both a scholar and role model. “She’s poised, well prepared, patient and willing to share knowledge without being condescending or dismissive,” professor Jessie Brown said. 

Welch assisted Brown’s chemistry students with course material through the ELF sessions. “Jenna has designed and implemented a series of wonderful exercises and lecture materials over this last academic year to help her fellow students thrive in general chemistry the way she thrived,” Brown said.

Kirk Abraham, a health and exercise science professor, noted Welch’s off-campus engagement and research, including volunteer work on efforts like the International Book Project and studying zebra finch behavior along with testing deer for COVID-19 through the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife. “This combination of high-level leadership and wide array of service indicates that Jenna is not only highly motivated and competent, but that she is also selfless, caring and generous with her time.”

Additionally, Welch has mentored students at Lexington Traditional Magnet School and helped organize the recent Transy Dance Marathon benefiting pediatric cancer patients. She’s been involved with a variety of campus groups as well — from the Pre-PA Club, which she helped create, to the Black Student Alliance to the Omicron Delta Kappa circle.

Welch is also minoring in art history while taking physician assistant graduate program prerequisites.

“In my career as a physician assistant, I will always prioritize listening to my patients, which will help me form deep connections with them throughout their treatment,” she said, reflecting the value of listening she’s found as an ELF fellow.

Welch noted how her recent award values skills that go beyond book learning. “I appreciate that the Shearer Scholarship places an emphasis on not only academic performance, but also demonstrated leadership and campus contributions.”

The Charles and Susan Shearer Scholarship was established in honor of Transylvania’s president from 1983-2010 and his wife.