Janna Rhinehart was the type of highly motivated and dedicated student that University of the Ozarks and the Walton Family Foundation had in mind when they established the Frontier Scholarship in 2017.
The freshman health science and education major from Dardanelle, Ark., is one of about two dozen Ozarks students who are taking advantage of the new Frontier Scholarship, which was created through a $10 million endowment gift from the foundation to assist students who otherwise might struggle to attend college.
“The Frontier Scholarship has been a true blessing to me and my family,” said Rhinehart. “I always strived to go to college but I wasn’t sure it was possible. My family works hard and I’m the middle child and this scholarship relieves a huge burden on myself and my parents. I will continue to work hard to prove my appreciation for this blessing and to make my family proud.”
Rhinehart is a member of the women’s basketball team and the cheerleading squad. She said she chose Ozarks because of the scholarship as well as the academic reputation of the University.
“This is really one of the top academic colleges in the area and that appealed to me,” she said. “I knew I would get a great education and also have the extracurricular opportunities like basketball and cheer. I also realized when I visited that Ozarks felt like a family. The overall atmosphere makes you feel like it’s home.”
Juggling academics and extracurricular can be trying at times, but Rhinehart often relies on advice given to her by her high school coach.
“He would always say, ’Breathe kid,’” she said. “It seems so simple, but it is definitely something I forget to do every now and then, especially in between the essays, quizzes, tests, basketball practices, cheer practices, classes, games, and personal life. On top of that, I stress about everything because I want to be the best I can possibly be and I can be super hard on myself. So, sometimes I stop and close my eyes and remember him saying, ‘Breathe kid.’ This allows me to take a second and appreciate where I am, and I realize everything is going to be OK.”
Rhinehart’s professional goal is a career in education—as a teacher, coach or counselor.
“I love working with people and having the opportunity to positively impact individuals and a community,” she said. “I want to go ahead and get a master’s degree when I leave Ozarks because education can truly be life-changing.”
In just under one semester at Ozarks, Rhinehart said the most surprising aspect of Ozarks has been the support she has received.
“The professors and staff are amazing; they care so much about you,” she said. “I honestly can say Ozarks professors are full of passion, care, and inspiration. It makes college more enjoyable because you feel like no one is against you. Everyone is pushing for you to succeed.”