First-Generation College Student Named 2023 Barton Scholar


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

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

Kilman, who plans to major in marketing, was named the 2023 Barton Scholar after competing against numerous other high school seniors in a series of speeches, group exercises and other activities.

“I made great connections during the competition and am 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 to its students.”

Along with securing a perfect 4.0 GPA, Kilman is involved in cheer, DECA, Principal’s Advisory Council and Site Council at Valley Center. She also works as the business development intern with the USD 262 District Communication Office. She will begin taking classes at WSU in Fall 2023.

“Bella’s involvement, perseverance and quest for excellence made her a deserving recipient of the college’s most prestigious scholarship,” said Dr. Larisa Genin, Dean 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.”