Pyschology major Amanda Gilbert, a 2020 graduate of Elizabeth Seton High School, and business administration major Oslyn Mejia Gomez, a 2020 graduate of DeMatha Catholic High School, earned scholarships to attend Eastern Mennonite University. Since 2018, EMU has partnered with eight Catholic high schools in the Maryland/Northern Virginia/District of Columbia region to recruit affinity students. (Photos by Rebekah Budnikas)

Grads of Catholic high schools find a home at EMU

Drawn by the friendly community and small class sizes, three graduates of Catholic high schools in Maryland and Virginia are enjoying their first year at Eastern Mennonite University.

The students include Amanda Gilbert, of Elizabeth Seton High School, and Oslyn Mejia Gomez, of DeMatha Catholic High School. A scholarship was also awarded to a 2020 graduate of Paul VI High School.

In a new partnership formed in 2018, EMU recruits students from eight Catholic high schools in the Washington D.C., Maryland and northern Virginia area: Bishop McNamara, Bishop O’Connell, Archbishop Carroll (Va.), The Academy of the Holy Cross, and Bishop Ireton high schools. 

Several generous scholarship opportunities are offered to students who meet academic criteria and other eligibility requirements.

“We’ve found that students at Catholic high schools share our values of service, social justice and global engagement, and have a rigorous academic background of scholarly inquiry grounded in a faith perspective,” said Matt Ruth, director of admissions at EMU. 

Ashlyn Eby, a graduate of Paul VI Catholic High School, was an awardee of one of the inaugural scholarships. Now a sophomore, she is enrolled in EMU’s nursing program and is a member of EMU’s lacrosse team.

Cerrie Mendoza, admissions counselor, visits the schools in the fall to present scholarship opportunities, financial aid information and to answer questions about academics, athletics and extracurricular activities. 

“When I meet with students from these schools, they have a well-rounded appreciation for what they’re looking for in a university,” Mendoza said. “It’s been wonderful getting to know the staff at the schools and meeting with students who might be good fits for our unique education.”

Mendoza’s special connection helped Meijia Gomez feel especially welcome when he arrived for a visit. And that feeling hasn’t changed. 

Meijia Gomez also feels supported in his studies and on the soccer team. “EMU isn’t a huge school where everyone is just another number,” he said, “but instead everyone is seen as a person.”

He appreciates that professors know him by name and easy to communicate with, and that his soccer teammates are “like family.” A business administration major who aspires to own his business someday, he was also intrigued by opportunities to learn and practice what he learns in his classes at the student-run coffeehouse, Common Grounds.

Gilbert, a psychology major, was especially attracted by EMU’s neuroscience minor and the possibilities of beginning graduate studies during her senior year in the accelerated Masters in Counseling program. With eventual plans to become a clinical psychologist or a psychiatrist, she definitely sees herself “finding new ways to better the world around me due to my EMU education.”

Her overnight visit to EMU during her senior year was the ideal way to meet people and learn more about the university. “The people I stayed with were absolutely wonderful. We played card games, drank tea, and got to know one another. After my overnight visit, I knew I could call EMU home. The entire campus community was very welcoming, and I knew that I would be supported in all my endeavors while at EMU.”

Discussion on “Grads of Catholic high schools find a home at EMU

  1. Welcome to EMU, Amanda and Oslyn. I’m your neighbor. I live in Hyattsville and know plenty of folks who’ve gone to both Elizabeth Seaton and DeMatha! I hope you’re enjoying the Shenandoah Valley.

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