Division of Student Affairs awards scholarships to student leaders

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Tulips on the Main Quad. Photo by Barbara Johnston/University of Notre Dame.

Tulips on the Main Quad. Photo by Barbara Johnston/University of Notre Dame.

The University of Notre Dame’s Division of Student Affairs recently awarded scholarships for the 2021-22 academic year to five junior undergraduate students in recognition of their demonstrated leadership on campus and beyond.

After reviewing nominations from across campus, a selection committee composed of representatives from within and outside the division awarded the Lou Holtz Leadership Scholarship to Allan Njomo and Sara Ferraro and the Hipp-Beeler Scholarship to Jennifer Moreno-Mendoza, Erica Browne and Samuel De La Paz.

The criteria for each scholarship is demonstrated leadership in residence hall programs, spiritual activities, community service, student government, student activities, entrepreneurial projects, interhall sports or any combination of these or other activities in the area of student life.

Established by Mike Harper in 1995, the Lou Holtz Leadership Scholarship encourages recipients to develop leadership qualities similar to those of former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz. A junior business analytics major, Njomo earned a Lou Holtz Leadership Scholarship as the result of his commitment to inclusion and social change within the Notre Dame community. 

A Stanford Hall resident and newly elected student body president, Njomo was born in Kenya and relocated to the United States when he was 9 years old. Most recently, Njomo served as the president of Stanford Hall where he supported fellow residents throughout the pandemic and created a safe space for dialogue surrounding racial injustice that spearheaded a microaggression training program in partnership with Multicultural Student Programs and Services. Additionally, Njomo has actively advocated on behalf of first-generation, low-income students and worked to strengthen greater participation in the GreeNDot violence prevention program. 

Ferraro, a junior from West Nyack, New York, majoring in the Program of Liberal Studies (PLS) with a minor in data science, also received a Lou Holtz Leadership Scholarship. A Lyons Hall resident, Ferraro has been actively engaged with the Center for Social Concerns since her freshman year, completing a Summer Service Learning Program at Bethany House where she offered support and tangible resources to women facing homelessness. Ferraro continues to advocate for empowerment in social work and has since participated in two fall seminar programs and two Virtual Service Corps programs. Ferraro has held a wide range of on-campus leadership positions, and as co-president of ND Jump Rope, she teaches youth after-school programs in South Bend. Ferraro also serves on the PLS Student Advisory Committee and the Lyons Hall Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and founded a University chapter of Global Brigades, which focuses on human rights education and legal empowerment. 

Established in 1992 by Notre Dame Student Government, the Hipp-Beeler Scholarship is designed to honor student-athletes Colleen Hipp and Meghan Beeler, who died in a bus accident. Moreno-Mendoza was awarded one of three Hipp-Beeler Scholarships for her commitment to and support of current and future students.   

A marketing major with minors in Latino studies and theology, Moreno-Mendoza serves as a board member for the Fighting Irish Scholars program within the Office of Student Enrichment and as an Anchor Intern for the Office of Campus Ministry, where she helps coordinate the efforts of multicultural ministry. She is also the co-head advising fellow of the Matriculate chapter at Notre Dame, a program that guides and supports limited-resourced, high-achieving students in all aspects of the college application process. Additionally, Moreno-Mendoza co-founded the My College Journey Academy in her hometown of Irving, Texas, which helps local high school students prepare for college.

Browne was awarded the second Hipp-Beeler Scholarship for her excellence in student leadership. Originally from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Browne is a member of the Core Team within the Center for Social Concerns. In this role, she works to improve seminar leadership training and student preparation prior to seminar immersion. She also served as a co-leader for the center’s Act Justly Seminar, leading a dialogue on achieving racial justice in the Notre Dame and South Bend communities. Additionally, Browne served as a co-facilitator for Campus Ministry’s annual Plunge Retreat for Black first-year students at Notre Dame. 

De La Paz, a mechanical engineering major with a minor in energy studies, received the third Hipp-Beeler Scholarship. At Notre Dame, De La Paz was accepted into the Rev. Don McNeill, C.S.C., Leadership Fellows Program within the Center for Social Concerns where he advocated on behalf of bipartisan clean energy legislation in Indiana. In addition, he serves as a team leader with Geothermal ND, is a member of and retreat leader for the Notre Dame Folk Choir and serves as the liturgical commissioner for Siegfried Hall.