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Young alumnus award winner has been devoted to mental health services

After several years of competing in a regional competition for voice students at the college and university level, Bethel senior Joshua Powell achieved first place in his final attempt.

It’s hard to think of Prairie View Mental Health Services in Newton without thinking of Bethel graduate Matthew Schmidt.

Schmidt has been working at Prairie View for most of the past 18 years. Like many Bethel students, he was a mental health worker while still in college, employed starting in 1993, his junior year, in the inpatient psychiatric unit.

Schmidt is the winner of Bethel’s 2011 Young Alumnus Award. He graduated in 1994 with a B.A. (major in psychology, minor in history) and continued at Prairie View until 1996, when he left for graduate school at the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare. He earned a master’s degree in social work (MSW) there in 1998.

Schmidt then returned to Prairie View as the adult team social worker on the inpatient treatment team and has been with the organization ever since.

In 2002, Schmidt became director of Community Support Services (CSS) at Prairie View, a program that “provides community based mental health services to adults in Harvey, Marion and McPherson counties experiencing severe and persistent mental illnesses,” he said. “I [give] the primary clinical and programmatic supervision to the CSS staff.”

Student artist places high in regional competition

A Bethel art student placed in the top group in a regional art scholarship competition.

Audra Miller, sophomore from Hesston, was one of 19 finalists in the Midwest Regional Collegiate Scholarship Competition, sponsored annually by Fine Art Finals based in Glen Ellyn, Ill. The organization sponsors regional competitions for artists in both high school and college. In addition to Kansas, the Midwest Region covers Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Miller, a student of Rachel Epp Buller, assistant professor of art, submitted three pieces, receiving notice for a colored pencil drawing entitled “Capture the Wind.”

“The competition was fierce,” Epp Buller said, “and mostly from larger schools” -- including Bowling Green State University, Eastern Michigan University, University of Illinois, University of Iowa, University of Minnesota, University of Missouri and University of Wisconsin. There were three other finalists from Kansas, from Pittsburg State University, University of Kansas and Washburn University.

Nursing student wins state scholarship

Allison Kaster, a senior in her final semester studying nursing at Bethel, has wanted to be a nurse most of her life.

Kaster received one of two $500 scholarships awarded each semester by the Kansas State Council of the Emergency Nurses Association.

Kaster’s mother, Joanne Kaster, is a nurse practitioner who works in the emergency departments at the Via Christi St. Joseph and St. Francis campuses in Wichita, as well as assistant professor of nursing at Bethel. As children growing up in Wichita, Allison and her older sister, Mandy, went to school near Via Christi-St. Joseph and would often go visit their mother at work in the afternoon.

Mandy, two years older, is a nurse and Allison is following her own interest in emergency care, working as an emergency technician at St. Joseph and St. Francis while preparing to graduate in May with a bachelor of science degree in nursing and take her licensure exams.

Last chance to join tour to Greece and Italy

The deadline to register for the May 28-June 11 trip to Greece and Italy has been extended to Feb. 15, and seats are still available.

The trip for alumni and friends of Bethel is being hosted by Bethel alumnus Weldon Martens ’77, Henderson, Neb., who led a similar tour in the past. He can be reached at (402) 723-4878 or via e-mail to answer questions about the upcoming trip.

“Footsteps of Paul” is an activity of the Bethel College Alumni Association. It is offered in cooperation with MTS Travel, Ephrata, Pa.

This year’s Grandparents Day is scheduled for Friday, April 15. The popular annual event is planned and hosted by members of the Student Alumni Association (SAA).

A record number of participants attended the last three years: 135 in 2008, 136 in 2009, and 141 in 2010. Morning activities include time to visit with students over coffee and rolls, attend classes and convocation, enjoy a talent show and eat lunch with students. Additional optional activities are offered in the afternoon.

So that all grandparents of current students might receive an invitation, parents as well as grandparents are asked to e-mail the following by Feb. 18:

  1. name of current Bethel student
  2. name(s) and address(es) of the student’s grandparent(s) and great-grandparent(s) who would appreciate receiving invitations.

Other guests are welcome to accompany grandparents who may need transportation or assistance while on campus. If needed, family may also e-mail a request that grandparents NOT receive an invitation due to health or travel concerns (they may be on the invitation list from the past).

For more information, contact SAA advisor and director of alumni relations Dave Linscheid, (316) 284-5252. Thank you.

Time change for home concert in March

The Bethel College Concert Choir will again go on tour during spring break, beginning with a performance in Wichita Friday evening, March 18; singing throughout the Pacific Northwest the following week; and ending with the annual home concert in Memorial Hall on Sunday, March 27—now scheduled for 7 p.m. rather than the afternoon time that had been announced earlier.

Watch for more tour details in the March issue of “Thresher E-View.” Alumni and friends of the college in the Pacific Northwest will also receive details by mail.

Alumni invited to reunion events in May

Mark your calendar now for Alumni Weekend activities, Friday-Saturday, May 20-21.

As part of the weekend’s events, the Classes of 1951, 1956, 1961, 1966 and 1971 will hold special reunion luncheons at noon Saturday, May 21. Bethel staff will host a luncheon for the “Heritage Classes” of 1936, 1941 and 1946.

Alumni Weekend also features an opening meal and tour of campus highlights Friday evening, a breakfast featuring alumni award recipients Saturday morning, and the annual banquet for all alumni and friends of the college Saturday evening.

More information will be sent to reunion class members in spring. When finalized, the schedule will be posted online.

Each May, classes celebrating their 40th, 45th, 50th, 55th, 60th, 65th, 70th and 75th anniversaries gather for special reunion luncheons the Saturday of Alumni Weekend. Those celebrating their 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 30th and 35th reunions are invited to gatherings on Fall Festival Saturday.