Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Whitworth siblings take one step closer to careers in medicine through healthcare scholarship

Whitworth students – and siblings – Eric Nelson, '10, and AnnAlise Nelson, '13, received Harold & Edna Bragg Healthcare Education Scholarships for the 2010-2011 academic school year. The awards are given by the Lake Chelan Community Hospital Foundation to Lake Chelan students with majors in the healthcare field.

"It is an honor to be selected by the hospital board foundation to receive such a scholarship, and to aid in continuing the legacy and dreams of Edna Bragg," AnnAlise Nelson says. "The scholarship has been a huge help in meeting my financial needs."

The Lake Chelan Community Hospital Foundation, which manages the scholarship fund and distributes the awards, gave a total of $28,000 to 18 students pursuing careers in health care this year. Scholarship amounts range from $1,000 to $2,000.

The funds have been awarded each year since 1995, when Edna Bragg bequeathed money and property to the LCCH Foundation for healthcare education. Since its founding, the scholarship has given a total of more than $500,000 dollars to students. Nelson says the Braggs were important residents of the Lake Chelan area.

"The scholarship has made me feel so supported by my community," she says. "It is very encouraging to know that people are cheering you on as you work to achieve your dreams. It makes me want to work even harder to pursue my career goals."

Nelson's high school medical science teacher, Vicki Taylor, encouraged her to apply for the scholarship. Nelson says Taylor understood her passion for medicine and for helping others, and that she is her inspiration in pursuing a nursing degree.

Taylor created a unique program at Chelan High School that allows students to explore healthcare fields, and exposes them to hands-on experiences at the local hospital and nursing home.

"With the help of our hospital foundation, my high school medical science class had the opportunity to dissect sheep hearts," Nelson says. "Through this experience, I became hooked on studying anatomy and all of its intricacies and set a goal of working in the medical field someday."

At Whitworth, Nelson teaches a cardio fitness class and participates in intramural volleyball, a small group Bible study, and the Exceptional Praise Gospel Choir. She is also on the executive board for Up 'Til Dawn, through which they help organize fundraisers for cancer research at St. Jude's Children's Hospital.

Eric Nelson has received the Harold & Edna Bragg Healthcare Education Scholarship for the last four consecutive school years. He first heard about the scholarship through his high school counselors and members of his community who knew of his desire to explore a career in the medical field. He says the Braggs' support has made a huge difference in the cost of his education.

"It is a wonderful feeling to receive a scholarship from the supporters of the Lake Chelan Valley medical community," Eric Nelson says. "As a student aspiring to make an impact in the lives of others through a medical career, I am so grateful for their generous support."

During his time at Whitworth, Eric Nelson has served as senator of Stewart Hall and participated in basketball, volleyball, and ultimate Frisbee intramural sports. He was also involved in the Pre-Med club, Cup of Cool Water ministries, Habitat for Humanity and the Up 'Til Dawn fundraising board. Currently, he works as an emergency room tech at Spokane's Holy Family Hospital.

"Whitworth has provided me with an amazing environment in which to learn, mature and develop my dreams for the future," he says.

Nelson, who graduated from Whitworth last May with a degree in biophysics, plans to attend dental school. In January, AnnAlise Nelson will apply to Spokane's Washington State Intercollegiate College of Nursing, where she plans on earning a B.S. degree in nursing.

The Harold & Edna Bragg Healthcare Education Scholarship is available to college sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduate students pursuing healthcare-related degrees. Applicants must be Lake Chelan residents who demonstrate a strong work ethic, leadership and academic performance. The scholarship is renewable to recipients every year of their undergraduate or graduate education.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Contacts:

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703, or eproffitt@whitworth.edu.