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First generation Wichita State undergraduate named 2023 Barton Scholar

The W. Frank Barton School of Business at Wichita State University has awarded Valley Center High School alumna Isabella (Bella) Kilman the 2023 Clay Barton Scholarship. The $50,000 scholarship is one of the largest scholarships of business studies in Kansas.

“Bella’s involvement, perseverance, and pursuit of excellence have made her a deserving recipient of the college’s most prestigious scholarship,” said Dr. Larisa Genin, principal of the Barton School. “I have no doubt that she will continue to overcome challenges and grow throughout her collegiate experience with the Barton School.”

Kilman, who intends to major in marketing, was named the 2023 Barton Scholar after competing against numerous other high school students in a series of talks, group exercises and other activities. The scholarship was founded in 1991 by the late Rent-A-Center co-founder, W. Frank Barton, who established the scholarship in his son’s name. Clay Barton died of cancer in 1988 at the age of 20, cutting short his promising life. While the Clay Barton Scholarship is no substitute for Clay’s presence, it is a powerful legacy.

“As a first generation student, I may not have been able to attend college without this scholarship,” Kilman said. “I felt immense relief knowing I could go to college with very little debt, and I was very proud of myself and what I accomplished.”

Clay Barton’s legacy speaks to the richness of the Barton tradition in Wichita State. Barton Scholars are expected to be the best of the best, excelling in academics, leadership and service, fitting the pieces of their lives intricately into a structure that has lasting value.

In addition to ensuring a perfect 4.0 GPA, Kilman is involved in cheering, DECA, the Dean’s Advisory Board, and Site Board at the Valley Center. He also works as a Business Development Intern in the USD 262 Communications Office. He will begin taking classes at WSU in the fall of 2023.

“I’ve made some great connections during the competition and I’m excited to see them through,” said Kilman. “I have high hopes of feeling prepared for the workforce after college. Barton is the best business school in Kansas and offers phenomenal opportunities for its students.”

About Wichita State University

Wichita State University is Kansas’s only urban public research university, enrolling nearly 22,000 students between the main campus and WSU Tech, including students from every state in the United States and more than 100 countries. Wichita State and WSU Tech are recognized for being student-centered and innovation-driven.

Located in the largest city in the state with one of the highest concentrations of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) jobs in the United States, Wichita State University offers unique, distinctive, and innovative pathways of applied learning, applied research and career opportunities for all of our students.

The Innovation Campus, which is a physical extension of Wichita State University’s main campus, is one of the largest and fastest growing research/innovation parks in the nation, encompasses over 120 acres and is home to numerous global businesses and organizations .

For more information, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/wichitastate and Facebook at www.facebook.com/wichita.state.

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