Daniel Pavilion. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Introducing the Class of 2023 Brenau Scholars

Jan 6, 2020
Kathryne Davis

The Brenau Scholars Program recognizes those who, as the Brenau Ideal states, “find satisfaction in being rather than in seeming” and “find joy in doing rather than in dreaming.” The young women chosen for this program epitomize these standards, using their talents, ambition and brilliance daily to pursue their goals and to excel in academics, community service and extracurricular activities.

Awarded annually to incoming freshmen through a rigorous selection process, the scholarship grants full residential tuition. It is renewable each year under the stipulation that the student keeps at least a 3.2 grade-point average and maintains her involvement in the university and community.

Natalie Bowen is a biology major from Flowery Branch, Georgia. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Natalie Bowen

Hometown: Flowery Branch, Georgia
Major: Biology
Clubs and activities: Tennis team
Career goals: to become a forensic pathologist
Why did you choose to attend Brenau? It offered me many different opportunities to better my education and life. Also, the university has a great tennis team that I could be a part of and that helped as well.
Why did you choose to major in biology? I want to go into forensic pathology. And in order to do that, I need to be a biology major. I also really love science. It is so interesting.
What does it mean to you to be a Brenau Scholar? This scholarship gives me the opportunity to grow so much as a person. I get leadership positions, and I am able to go to a great college without having to worry about going into debt during my undergraduate years.

Haley Grimes is a nursing major from Gainesville, Georgia. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Haley Grimes

Hometown: Gainesville, Georgia
Major: Nursing
Clubs and activities: Competition cheerleader, Phi Mu, honors program
Career goals: to become a nurse or nurse practitioner
What inspires you? I have been inspired by multiple people in my life. On a personal level, my mom is my rock. My previous cheer coaches, Coach Starke and Coach Coulter, taught me to persevere through all obstacles. In my career, Nurse Haylee helped me affirm my passion for nursing.
Why did you choose to major in nursing? After being in a major car accident when I was younger, I wanted to be a nurse who could take the worst day in someone’s life and make it just a little bit better — whether that is helping them physically or emotionally.
What does it mean to you to be a Brenau Scholar? Being a Brenau Scholar has given me the opportunity to achieve my education at a very prestigious level. It has given me the confidence in my abilities in that I know there are people that believe I can achieve everything I intend to.

Sarah Kay is a musical theatre major from Villa Rica, Georgia. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Sarah Kay

Hometown: Villa Rica, Georgia
Major: Musical theatre
Clubs and activities: Honors program, Gainesville Theatre Alliance
Career goals: to minor in psychology, work in Atlanta with the Alliance Theatre and bring theatre to underprivileged children
What inspires you? One of the biggest inspirations for me is seeing all of the successful women around me and how driven they are. With teachers who genuinely want to teach, it is easy to be inspired here.
Why did you choose to attend Brenau? GTA drew me to Brenau initially because it is such a phenomenal program. Once I visited for scholarship interviews and auditions, I felt I had to go here.
What does it mean to you to be a Brenau Scholar? When I found out I was selected as a Brenau Scholar, I was immediately thrilled because it was the only way I would be able to afford my dream school. As a Brenau Scholar, I hope to not only be a voice for my fellow students, but I also hope to grow as a woman with the best opportunities possible.

Ariana Long is a theatre major from Jefferson, Georgia. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Ariana Long

Hometown: Jefferson, Georgia
Major: Theatre
Clubs and activities: Gainesville Theatre Alliance
Career goals: to work as a performer at Disney World or with a touring theatre company, then to teach theatre
Why did you choose to attend Brenau? I chose Brenau because of the stellar theatre program, the small class sizes and its closeness to my hometown. I’ve quickly realized that the community at Brenau is so supportive and wonderful. I’m so glad I’ve found another home at Brenau.
Why did you choose to major in theatre? I’ve been performing since I was 3 years old, and I’ve loved every minute of it. The choice to pursue a degree in theatre was a natural choice for me, because I can pursue my passion for performance as well as gain the knowledge I will need to become a drama teacher later in my life.
What does it mean to you to be a Brenau Scholar? I love being a part of the scholar community. The Brenau Scholar program has not only helped to support me financially through college; it has also provided me a circle of academically driven students and leaders who are my mentors and my friends.

Noelle McIntyre is a musical theatre major from Lawrenceville, Georgia. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Noelle McIntyre

Hometown: Lawrenceville, Georgia
Major: Musical theatre
Clubs and activities: Gainesville Theatre Alliance, Phi Mu
Career goals: to move somewhere new, audition and perform
What inspires you? My grandmother and my great-grandmother were musicians and singers. One of my biggest inspirations is my brother, Nicholas. He has always been my greatest supporter and will always be at my shows to smile and sing along. Nicholas reminds me how far kindness can take you, especially in an industry where cutthroat is the normality.
Why did you choose to major in musical theatre? I chose musical theatre because that’s where my heart is. I love acting alone so much, but singing has always been something that resonated somewhere special with me. When my brother was sick we would sing to each other, even if he couldn’t sing back at the time. We still sing together as we’ve grown older and Nicholas blesses the audiences at shows by singing along.
What does it mean to you to be a Brenau Scholar? Being a Brenau Scholar means getting to share my life, story and journey with a group of powerful women. We all share the same drive for leadership and responsibility, which is something I wasn’t sure I’d necessarily find at college.

Tiffany Oltjenbruns is a dance with a pre-physical therapy concentration major from Woodstock, Georgia. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Tiffany Oltjenbruns

Hometown: Woodstock, Georgia
Major: Dance with a pre-physical therapy concentration
Clubs and activities: Student Government Association senator, Student Activities Board, Phi Mu, Gainesville Ballet Company
Career goals: to become a physical therapist
What inspires you? I know this is a cliché, but my mom is my biggest inspiration and role model. She went to Brenau (class of ’88) and was also a company member in the Gainesville Ballet Company. She has accomplished too many things to count and can manage countless responsibilities. I love her to the moon and back and would not be where I am today without her support and encouragement.
Why did you choose to attend Brenau? I never imagined going to school here, but my mom brought me to the dance audition and scholarship competition. I’ve been in love ever since then. I could not imagine myself at any other school now.
Why did you choose to major in dance? I dance because it brings me joy, comfort and is an outlet for creativity. I decided to be a dance major because I wanted to further my training as a dancer. Also, Brenau is the only school that offers a partnership between dance and pre-physical therapy, which was one of the main reasons I chose Brenau.

Jenna Patton is a dance and theatre major from Snellville, Georgia. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Jenna Patton

Hometown: Snellville, Georgia
Major: Dance and theatre
Clubs and activities: Alpha Gamma Delta, Gainesville Ballet Company
Career goals: to become a dancer and missionary with a Christian ballet company called Ballet Magnificat
What inspires you? Jesus. He gets all the glory.
Why did you choose to attend Brenau? All the signs pointed here. I think God purposefully closed a lot of doors before opening this one. Brenau was not originally on my short list of colleges but each time I visited, I was more and more encouraged by the community here and continually felt more at home. Now I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else.
What does it mean to you to be a Brenau Scholar? It’s such an honor. It means that my identity isn’t just found in dance, nor is it found simply in academics. It means that I stood out for my personality as well. It’s a little slice of encouragement constantly reminding me, “Keep it up! Your hard work is paying off!”

Annabeth Vandiver is a special education major from Sautee, Georgia. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Annabeth Vandiver

Hometown: Sautee, Georgia
Major: Special education
Clubs and activities: volleyball, Phi Mu, honors program
Career goals: to get true, unfiltered experience working in special education and to teach elementary age-students
Why did you choose to major in special education? My mom was the first person to notice my heart for children with special needs and knew there was something special for me. When I was conflicted with my career choice, bouncing from OT to special education to art therapy, she reminded me of my common goal: to help children with special needs.
Why did you choose to attend Brenau? Brenau has everything I need in a school, my major (which can be hard to find), an opportunity for me to play a collegiate sport, the scholarship money to fund my time here, and an overall great vibe.
What does it mean to you to be a Brenau Scholar? I am honored to be a Brenau Scholar. Being able to have my tuition paid for based off my academic excellence, motivation and dedication, is an award in itself. It means that I am worthy of attending this university by achieving great academics and being a role model to others.

Katie Watkins is a dance and English major from Sharpsburg, Georgia. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Katie Watkins

Hometown: Sharpsburg, Georgia
Major: Dance and English
Clubs and activities: Alpha Chi Omega, honors program
Career goals: to find a vocation that combines dance, mentorship, and writing, and to eventually earn a Ph.D. and work in higher education
What inspires you? One of my main inspirations is my childhood dance teacher, Lori Casablanca. She is such a kind and loving person. She inspired me to love dance and try to work positive change in others’ lives through the arts.
Why did you choose to attend Brenau? In my interview for Brenau Scholars, I just had a gut feeling that this was the right place for me. I loved the historic campus and the legacy the school has. I wanted the personal attention and support given by the faculty at Brenau. I knew that I wouldn’t be just a number.
Why did you choose to major in Dance and English? I’m taking two of my passions and marrying them together to form an educational experience unique to me. I wanted to explore how the two fields could interact together, give myself the skills to write at a high level and explore career opportunities in both fields.