By Cassidy Peterson
Staff writer

More than 2,200 students applied for the national Coca-Cola Scholarship, and Hutchinson Community College sophomore Megan Ratzlaff received the bronze-level scholarship, along with 49 other students.

Ratzlaff has also secured her position as a semifinalist for the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, which is a nationwide scholarship that more than 1,600 applicants applied for. Only 150 community college students are in the semifinals, with Ratzlaff being the only finalist from Kansas. The scholarship supplies transfer students with up to $55,000 per year for two or three years.

Ratzlaff was homeschooled from preschool through senior year in high school. Her extracurricular activities include the Honors Program, Honors Student Council, Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU), Phi Theta Kappa, and Symphonic Band. She is an active member of her church and works part-time at RCB Bank.

Ratzlaff will be transferring to Sterling College in the fall to study history with a double minor in English and Music. Her plan after is to earn a master’s or doctorate, and since she has loved her time at HutchCC so much, Ratzlaff said she would like to return to the college as an instructor.

When asked how she juggles all of her school work and hobbies, Ratzlaff said she just focuses on one task at a time, stresses the importance of lists, and even assigns additional challenges for herself when she gets her whole to-do list done.

When asked how she feels about both scholarship opportunities, Ratzlaff said,“To be honest, I don’t think it has sunk in yet and I’m not sure it ever fully will. I am completely humbled and honored that I am able to represent my Lord and Savior on the national level in these ways, as striving to bring glory to Him is the only reason I do what I do in my life.”

Ratzlaff accredits her success all to God’s grace, the support system she has been given, and lessons she has learned. She thanked her parents, as they were also a contributing factor. Lastly, Ratzlaff thanked her mentors, Shaun and Sabrina Julian from her church, HutchCC English professor Ryan Diehl, and HutchCC music instructor Eric Stambaugh.

“Megan is a fantastic leader both in and outside of the classroom,” Diehl said. “In fact, it is thanks to her leadership that our Phi Theta Kappa chapter was not only named a Five Star Chapter but also won many awards at the 2024 Regional Phi Theta Kappa Convention, including the highly-coveted first place for our Honors in Action Project. She also created a very strong foundation upon which next year’s executive will board.”

Diehl said that the honors that Ratzlaff is earning are deserved, as she has proven academically and with her actions as a leader that she is a great candidate for both scholarships.

Ratzlaff’s one piece of advice about doing well in college is simply to take time and enjoy the college experience, do not rush through it.

“Enjoy the journey,” she said.

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