This year, the Foundation received many applications for two separate scholarships – the JC Carey Memorial Scholarship given in honor of JC Carey, a long-time practicing PA, member of TAPA, student teacher and preceptor at Bethel University; and The James Montag, Jr. Military Service Scholarship, sponsored by James Montag, Jr., PA-C and awarded to a qualified Tennessee PA program student having outstanding academic, community service and having a military service history. The TAPA Board of Directors reviewed the applications and selected the recipients from all the applications that the Foundation presented to the Board. The criteria for the application process involves past academic accomplishments, extracurricular and volunteer activities, current GPA, need for the student and an essay about the applicant’s own journey and future goals.
The recipient of the James Montag Jr. Military Service Scholarship was Felix Iheanacho of the South College PA Program in Knoxville. Felix grew up in Nigeria as the fifth of six siblings, in a community where it was considered ‘overambitious to dream about going to college’. But Felix kept that ambition and, at the age of 19, wrote a book about his village titled Umununoha, The Land of Ancient Wisdom . At the age of 23, an uncle believed enough in him to bring him to the United States. He became a US Navy Hospital Corpsman and received the prestigious Bluejacket Sailor of the Year award in the US Navy.
Along the way, he also received his AA in General Education from Guilford Technical Community College and a BA in Psychology from the University of North Carolina in Asheville. He works as a youth leader for the Knights of Columbus and continues to achieve at South College as a top student, having travelled to Washington, DC to speak to national leaders as a PA Student. He also serves on the South College Student Government Association as Vice President. Felix states that it has been difficult to be away from family, but it is easy to see his enthusiasm, ambition and his vision to be a great PA, husband and father while serving to move our profession forward. Congratulations and best wishes to Felix as the recipient of the James Montag, Jr. Military Service Scholarship!
The next scholarship recipient was Brandon Holley of the South College PA Program. He received one of the JC Carey Memorial Scholarships. Brandon’s essay spoke of determination and humbly accepting sometimes difficult lessons and experiences in life. At an early age he had to drop out of school to take care of his mother and grandfather, both diagnosed with cancer. But he later he earned his GED and went on to become a first generation college graduate of his family. He went to Itawamba Community College for General Studies and on to Liberty University to earn his Bachelor of Science in Psychology. He did all this while working full time and staying debt free in his early collegiate career.
Adversity has taught him self-discipline and motivation to strive for excellence. He has a desire to practice primary care in an underserved community and, along with his supportive wife who is a registered nurse, hopes to serve in both local and medical mission trips abroad. Congratulations Brandon and best wishes for continued success!
The next scholarship recipient was Ann Marie Harrington who also received a JC Carey Memorial Scholarship. Ann Marie is a student in the Bethel University PA Program and is a graduate of the Loyola University in Chicago with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She also received a Patient Care Technician Certification from Missouri Baptist University.
Ann Marie places a strong emphasis on service to young women, working with worthy programs such as Girls on the Run as an assistant coach and a volunteer with the Good Samaritan Health and Wellness Clinic. She is the second oldest to six sisters and one brother with a mother who inspired her as a registered nurse and former captain in the US Army. Ann Marie credits her mother’s love of clinical care and daily examples of compassion as her inspiration to pursue a career in healthcare. Ann Marie’s own health issues in undergraduate school and her refusal to allow illness to define her own life and opportunities is a message she wants to pass on to her patients. She hopes to work in either critical care or oncology, noting the impression made on her as she had opportunity to work under several oncologists at Washington School of Medicine prior to acceptance to Bethel’s PA Program. Congratulations to Ann Marie on her previous success and looking to her future as a bright star in healthcare.
The final recipient of a JC Carey Memorial Scholarship was Jordan Reynolds. Jordan is a graduate of Murray State University with a Bachelor of Science. She served in a Rural Health Scholar Internship in June of this year in Kentucky and mentions how it left a mark on her heart working with an underserved population. Jordan states that from a young age, she knew she wanted a career in healthcare. She began her journey as a volunteer on a Med/Surg Floor in a local hospital at the age of 17. When she turned 18, they hired her and she worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant and later ER Tech.
“My experiences have taught me more humility, compassion and generosity than I could have ever imagined,” she states. She found out about the PA profession during a personal experience in a local ER where the PA caring for her showed her dedication to her patients in a kind and caring manner. This experience helped Jordan make the decision to become a PA, and her goal is now to provide patients in rural areas with that same level of extraordinary care. Congratulations to Jordan and we hope she fulfills her dreams in rural care helping others and being the inspiration that another PA was to her.