For Immediate Release – July 9, 2019 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – The Reining Horse Foundation (RHF) is announcing an increase in its academic and need-based scholarship program for 2019. The nonprofit charitable arm of NRHA is presenting eight awards—up from seven—and increasing the three top awards from $2,000 to $2,500 each. The recipients are: Amber Edmonds of Pepperell, Massachusetts; David Gringeri of West Haven, Vermont; Cassandra Townsend of Andover, South Dakota; Natalie Gydesen of North Loup, Nebraska, Madyson Buchanan of Scottsdale, Arizona; Morgan Knerr of Plain City, Ohio; Liz Blaser of Duncan, Nebraska; and Megan D’Andrea of Fowler, Ohio.
Members of the National Reining Horse Youth Association (NRHyA) submitted applications for the RHF scholarships. The recipients were chosen by an independent committee based upon their academic achievement, financial need, future goals and involvement in NRHyA and the reining horse industry. NRHyA members must first apply as high school seniors, and once selected, they are eligible to reapply.
“I have been associated with the Foundation’s scholarship program since its inception, and this is our first major expansion in these awards since 2010,” said RHF scholarship committee chairman Mike Hancock. “We know that college costs have increased dramatically, and we are working hard to make a greater impact for those who have spent their youth involved with reining.”
In addition to the expansion in the program, the $750 award earned by D’Andrea is being designated as the John McQuay Memorial Scholarship. This represents a change in this fund to support the academic- and need-based program.
Edmonds, Gringeri, and Townsend were each awarded $2,500 in RHF scholarship monies. Edmonds is in the Merrimack College Honors Program, majoring in elementary education and human development with a minor in business administration. She intends to become an elementary school principal. She received RHF scholarships in 2016 and 2018.
Gringeri attends the University of Vermont. In high school, he had dual enrollment at the Community College of Vermont. He is majoring in business/finance with the goal of a career in agribusiness. He has been named to the Dean’s List throughout his college career and is a member of student government. He received RHF scholarships in 2017 and 2018.
Townsend intends to major in human biology in the pre-medicine pathway at South Dakota State University with the goal of becoming a doctor. Farm-raised, she has been involved in 4-H and FFA and the South Dakota Quarter Horse Association. She has been active in her school and performed many hours of community service.
Gydesen and Buchanan each will receive $1,500 in scholarships. Gydesen plans to major in animal science. A high school honors student, she has been active in FFA and is a four-time 4-H State Horse Show champion and 7-time reserve champion with plans to ride on a collegiate equestrian team.
Buchanan plans to major in business/marketing with the goal of becoming a business owner. She has been captain of her Interscholastic Equestrian Association team and president of the Arizona Youth Reining Horse Association. She has served as a volunteer leader for the PACE Foundation, the national nonprofit patient organization dedicated to improving the diagnosis, treatment, and quality of life of persons with Pediatric Autoimmune Neurological Disorders through advocacy, education, and research.
Knerr is the recipient of the new $1,000 RHF scholarship. She attends the University of Findlay with plans to become a pediatric pharmacist. She held multiple positions as an NRHyA officer, including president in 2017, vice president in 2016 and secretary in 2015 and received RHF scholarships in 2017 and 2018.
Earning $750 scholarships each are Blaser and D’Andrea. Blaser is the current NRHyA president and was vice president in 2018 and treasurer in 2017. While in high school, she has been enrolled in dual credit courses at Central Community College and Nebraska Wesleyan University. She will attend Wayne State College in Wayne, Neb., with the goal of becoming a physician and returning to a rural community to practice.
D’Andrea is pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at Youngstown State University. She was active in the NRHyA Varsity Reining Club and also is a three-time NRHyA Youth of the Year for her affiliate. She received RHF scholarships in 2016 and 2017.