Photo of Old Main from near the Grand Staircase
May 15, 2019

LACEY, Wash. — Ten incoming Saint Martin’s University first-year students have been selected to serve as the eighth cohort of Benedictine Scholars. The University’s Benedictine Scholars Program started in the fall of 2012 with the mission to promote a deeper understanding of the Catholic, Benedictine values and heritage that define the University. The Benedictine Scholars serve as ambassadors for the core values of the institution—faith, reason, service and community—both within the University and in the wider world.

Benedictine Scholars serve their communities, meet in small groups and work on a project of their cohort's own choosing. Projects completed by recent Benedictine Scholars cohorts have included the restoration and re-installation of the Stations of the Cross throughout the Saint Martin’s campus, the creation of a large Saint Martin’s-themed mural, assisting with hosting service opportunities for students and preserving historical documents for the monastic community.

Through the program’s service-learning component, the Benedictine Scholars will engage in 60 hours of service in the wider community, integrate the service experience into academic exploration in special courses and reflect on the experience with their Scholar community. Scholars also volunteer for Saint Martin’s events such as Open Houses, the Gala and Commencement.

Floraliza Bornasal, Ph.D., assistant professor of civil engineering and faculty advisor for the Benedictine Scholars program, said, “I’m excited to welcome the newest cohort of Benedictine Scholars to Saint Martin’s University. Scholars embody our Benedictine values through their leadership in various avenues on campus, service to their communities and dedication to knowledge through active engagement in their academics. I look forward to seeing how this newest cohort will continue our tradition of hospitality, justice, listening, dignity of work, stewardship, stability and other important Benedictine values as they pursue their education at Saint Martin’s.”

Colleen Dunne, M.Div., who will be the new director of campus ministry starting this summer, will be the staff advisor for the Benedictine Scholars program.

Faculty and staff members representing numerous departments throughout the University evaluated more than 195 candidates for the Benedictine Scholars program. Those selected are typically students whose academic records are matched by their leadership experiences, their contributions to the life of their school or faith communities and their service to individuals and groups. Each scholar selected for the honor receives $29,000 to $30,000 in total scholarship support per year, renewable for four years of study.

The eighth cohort of Benedictine Scholars are:

  • Franny Ugochi Anunobi, Bellevue, who is graduating from Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart, and will major in mechanical engineering
  • Byron Blas, Hagåtña, Guam, who will graduate from Father Duenas Memorial High School and will major in history
  • Tatiana Crichton, Spanaway, who is set to graduate from Bethel High School and will major in elementary education
  • Max Kendall, Renton, who will graduate from Kentridge Senior High School and will major in business administration
  • Soukita Keopanapay, Pullman, who is set to graduate from Pullman High School and will major in business administration
  • Brooklyn LaPointe, Porcupine, South Dakota, who is graduating from Chemawa Indian School and will major in biology
  • Kaiyle Okada, Kailua, Hawaii, who will graduate from Maui High School and will major in nursing
  • Javy Warrior Ramirez, Bainbridge Island, who is graduating from Bainbridge High School and will major in mechanical engineering
  • Cheyenne Yap, Haiku, Hawaii, who will graduate from Kamehameha Schools Maui and will major in educational studies
  • Jake Yoshida, Honolulu, Hawaii, who is set to graduate from Maryknoll High School and will major in pre-dental studies

Saint Martin’s University is an independent, four-year, coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300 acres in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 13 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 29 majors and 11 graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes more than 1,300 undergraduate students and 250 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and more students to its extended campus located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord

For additional information:

Floraliza Bornasal, Ph.D.
Faculty Advisor, Benedictine Scholars
Assistant professor, civil engineering

Kevin Hyde
Media Relations Manager