Contributed by Robert Minard
The Mat-Su Health Foundation (MSHF) recently awarded 63 academic scholarships totaling $353,039 to local students pursuing college degrees with health and wellness majors. In addition, the foundation awarded 20 vocational scholarships totaling $41,788 over the last twelve months to residents pursuing training and certificate programs related to healthcare careers.
“Our scholarship awards grew significantly from 2015 to 2016. In fact, we awarded almost $100,000 more this time around,” said MSHF Executive Director Elizabeth Ripley. “The substantial increase is reflective of both the high quality of applications received and the desire of our board of directors to increase its commitment to growing our own health care workforce of the future.”
The Mat-Su Health Foundation offers scholarships in two categories: Academic scholarships for students pursuing college degrees with health or wellness majors, and vocational scholarships to assist students with the cost of training and certifications for jobs in health and wellness related fields. Scholarships are awarded based on how well each applicant meets MSHF’s eligibility criteria, which includes financial need, demonstrated interest in health care, and selection of a career choice that matches the workforce needs of the Mat-Su. MSHF Academic scholarships are awarded one time annually, while vocational scholarships are awarded throughout the year.
Three of the Academic Scholarships have special significance: The Annie Demming Scholarship, the Vivian Shaver Scholarship, and the Ya Ne Dah Ah/K’tl’egh’i Sukdu Scholarship. Annie Demming served as Director of the Medical Records Department for Valley Hospital and retired after 28 years of service. The 2016 recipient of the scholarship named in her honor is Yana Golyan. The Vivian Shaver Scholarship was awarded to Kailey Carlson, and this scholarship is given in honor of Vivian “Babe” Shaver, who worked at Valley Hospital and passed away in 1978. The Ya Ne Dah Ah/K’tl’egh’i Sukdu scholarship is new this year and was created to honor Alaska Native traditions and culture in the Mat-Su. Ya Ne Dah Ah / K’tl’egh’i Sukdu loosely translates as “ancient stories/remaining stories of our people.” Ya Ne Dah Ah is Ahtna and K’tl’egh’i Sukdu is Dena’ina. This scholarship was awarded to Luke Tegeler.
The 2016 recipients of MSHF academic scholarships are:
Recipients of MSHF vocational scholarships from June 2015 through April 2016 included the following individuals:
Mat-Su Health Foundation is the official business name of Valley Hospital Association, Inc., which shares ownership in Mat-Su Regional Medical Center. In this capacity, the MSHF board members and representatives actively participate in the governance of Mat-Su’s community hospital and protect the community’s interest in this important healthcare asset through board oversight. The MSHF invests its share of Mat-Su Regional’s profits into charitable works that improve the health and wellness of Alaskans living in Mat-Su. More information is available online at www.healthymatsu.org.
Contributed by Robert Minard