Scholarship adviser helps match students, awards


K-State ranks in the top 10 of U.S. universities in overall number of Rhodes, Truman, Goldwater, Udall and Marshall scholarships.

Students have been successful, but who has helped them get there?

Enter Jim Hohenbary, scholarship adviser for the College of Arts and Sciences, who helps match students with scholarships that fit them.

Hohenbary said he began his work as an open option adviser, but after the previous scholarship adviser left, he decided to apply.

“Before coming to K-State, I wasn’t even aware that kind of position existed,” he said.

Hohenbary said he wanted to work with top students from different disciplines.

His goal for students, he said, is to help those competing for scholarships know how to get the most out of K-State.

“I want to meet students early in their college career and begin talking with them about what lies down the road,” he said. “It seems to me that knowing what scholarships might be a good fit helps students think a little more consciously about how to get the most out of their college experience.”

Hohenbary’s work covers a wide base, including meeting with students, organizing scholarship committees and interviews, processing scholarships requiring institutional endorsement and helping students complete essays and prepare for interviews.

“It’s definitely a job that reminds me of the saying, ‘the devil’s in the details,'” he said. “That’s the whole idea behind a scholarship application.”

To help him with his job, Hohenbary said his studies as an English major and his master’s work in creative writing trained him to read things closely and talk about writing.

“I have definitely seen my own education come into play as a valuable tool in the job,” he said.

An insatiable curiosity is also helpful and motivating.

“I’m curious about a lot of different topics,” he said. “It’s really fun and interesting to me to learn about what students are concerned about and what their professional goals are, and I feel like the fact that there are so many neat things students are doing across campus keeps me excited about the job.”

No special recipe exists for student success in scholarship competition, but Hohenbary said students who know where they want to go might find the process easier.

“Preparation in success in different fields involves different things,” he said. “The most general formula in what we’re looking for are students that know where they want to go in the future, or at least a broad outline.”

Hohenbary said the most rewarding thing about his job is having students find personal success while pursuing scholarship.

“The most rewarding thing is seeing students have a valuable experience competing for the scholarship,” he said. “They know how to get from point A to point B. Those sorts of things are great to see.”

Larry Rodgers, associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, said Hohenbary was an outstanding student while studying at K-State, and Rodgers said he knew Hohenbary would do a good job.

“From the day he was hired here, I knew that K-State had picked the best possible person in the country to do this job,” Rodgers said.

Rodgers said Hohenbary has the type of personality to help students find the ability to succeed.

“He is all substance, as opposed to all style,” Rodgers said. “Jim is the opposite of flashy and big. He’s quite thoughtful, and that allows him to invest in the students’ success instead of the students’ success being a reflection of his. He is completely selfless.”

Hohenbary takes the time to get to know students, Rodgers said, and keeps out of the limelight to help students excel.

“When you meet him, you don’t immediately see why he’s so amazing, because he’s the lest self-promoting person I know,” Rodgers said. “He takes the time to allow K-State’s best students to showcase their strengths.”

Kourtney Bettinger, senior in modern languages, began meeting with Hohenbary as a freshman and said she found him helpful as she applied for the Truman Scholarship.

“When I was doing the Truman, he was priceless,” she said. “He’s just amazing and always willing to help. He came in on the weekends and read through essays.”

Bettinger said Hohenbary is willing to listen and easy to talk to.

“You can tell he really cares about the students,” she said. “He’s the right man for the job.”