JCF provides scholarships to YC nursing, radiology students
Jason Sewell, a nursing student at Yavapai College, said a recent full-tuition scholarship lets him continue his education, not have to take on more hours at work or find a second job, and still meet the needs of his wife and two small children.
"This is huge for me," Sewell said. "The reality is scholarship is making is possible for me to continue my studies, it wouldn't happen otherwise. It's a miracle."
The Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Prescott is providing 96 full-tuition and fee scholarships to 12 nursing and radiologic technology students attending Yavapai College over the next five years. Each student will keep their scholarship for their full program as long as requirements are met.
"It actually took a huge load off my mind and financially for my family," said Raymond Trujillo, a radiologic technology student from Cottonwood who received a scholarship. "It encourages me to give back. I've never been honored like this. I've been so humbled."
Jewish Community Foundation members learned from Yavapai Regional Medical Center executives about the competition rural health care centers face when trying to compete with urban centers to attract nurses and radiology techs, and the foundation decided to do something about it, said Dr. David Hess, president of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Prescott.
"We have a great nursing program here at Yavapai College, and our students consistently score among the highest on national exams," Hess said. "We thought if we could provide a scholarship program, target students in need and they would make a moral commitment upon graduation to stay and practice in our community, then we could make a difference and they would help so many people in Yavapai County."
Health care and education have historically been a priority for the foundation, Hess said.
"The program simultaneously supports education and healthcare while ensuring a pipeline of vital healthcare professionals for the local medical community," Hess said.
Sarah Little, a nursing scholarship recipient from Cottonwood, said the scholarship is helping her transition from teaching to nursing, and many of the skills she used in her previous career she's finding important in her new one.
"We are so incredibly grateful that a non profit like the Jewish Community Foundation can provide the largest scholarship program in the history of Yavapai College," said Steve Walker, executive director of the Yavapai College Foundation. "It's an inspiration to us and we hope it is an incentive to other donors to make a difference in students lives."
At the scholarship award ceremony, the 12 scholarship recipients and their family members met and spoke with members of the Jewish Community Foundation.
"These scholarships offer you the chance to pursue the dreams you have been working towards, and I hope you know how much we need you nurses and radiology techs in this community," said Dr. Penny Wills, president of Yavapai College to the students.
Willis noted that these scholarships come at a time when college affordability and financial resources are significant barriers for many students and their families.
"Financially, with a family of four and one income it was hard," said JoAnn Beltran, a nursing student from Prescott who was awarded a scholarship. "The scholarship will help me focus on my studies and not feel financial stress. I'm very grateful for it, and so is my family."
Diane Drexler, chief nursing officer at Yavapai Regional Medical Center, congratulated the scholarship recipients, said they'd find there's nothing more rewarding than helping people, and that she looked forward to seeing them at the hospital. YRMC is also contributing to the scholarship this year, said Mike Lange, spokesman for Yavapai College.
Then Phyllis Robbins, a retired intensive care unit nurse, presented the nurses with stethoscopes and Dr. Seymour Rife, a radiologist and member of the foundation's board of trustees, presented the radiology techs with the markers they'd use throughout their careers.
"This means I get to be a nurse," said Mary Dennis, a nursing student from Kirkland awarded a scholarship. "I just appreciate this program in making that happen."