Seminary Names Two Presidential Scholars

For the first time, Lexington Theological Seminary has simultaneously awarded two students the prestigious Presidential Scholarship.

This full-tuition scholarship is traditionally awarded to one Master of Divinity student who shows promise both academically and in capacity for ministry. This year, the committee selected two M.Div. students: Tamara Nicole Mills of Lexington, Ky., and Mariah Newell of Liberty Hill, Texas.

“Because of the generosity of our donors, LTS is pleased to offer two Presidential Scholarships to these outstanding students,” said President Charisse L. Gillett. “We are grateful they were called to this community to pursue their education and look forward to being on the journey with them.”

Mills, a University of Kentucky graduate, is a special-education teacher for students with moderate to severe disabilities and serves as a deacon and small-group leader at Central Christian Church in Lexington. She discerned a call to ministry several years ago and finally connected with the programs at LTS. The online format and academic block schedules allowed her flexibility to continue working and serving her church while pursuing a M.Div. degree.

“I believe that it is very important for ministers to understand Scripture and the context in which it was written,” Mills said. “One of the most important lessons I’ve learned thus far is that Scripture should not be read literally, but that we should search for deeper meanings within the text. As future ministers, this will help us guide the people in our congregations to do the same.”

Mariah Newell was studying for the LSAT and preparing for law school while serving at a church camp in Texas, then accepted a position as a Youth Ministry Intern for Cypress Creek Christian Church and Community Center. After that summer, she put aside her LSAT studies for good, and after graduating from Texas Christian University, she served as a Program Director at a United Church of Christ camp in Missouri before returning to Cypress Creek as youth director.

“Seminary education is important because it gives budding ministers the tools to uncover and communicate the richness of God’s love and presence in the world,” Newell said.