Mat-Su Health Foundation Increases Scholarship Giving

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:

Kathryn Albert
Tarah Alden
Corey Ambrose
Jessica Andersen
Adrianne Andrews
Natalya Baletskaya
Elise Barnhart
Alan Bartelli
Christina Bernier
Debra Blanchard
Daniel Brunnhoelzl
Heather Buchanan
Colleen Bue
Alex Buness
Miracle Burton
Kailey Carlson
Mariya Chavez
Kathryn Cocker
Bryan Dahms
Kaitlin Daly
Adinda Demske
Craig Dollerhide
Ashlyn Dorn
Daniel Dryden
Gregory Eisenhower
Tessamae Endes
Mary Geist
Yana Golyan
Sabrina Jerasek
Anthony Jurasek
Jared Layton
Jennifer Lee
Brandy Malidore
Richard Manrique
Blake Marks
Monica Martinez
Shiloh McRae
Deanna Ouellette
RuVonne Parson
Ashley Powell
Jospeh Powers
Beverly Ray
Terri Reynolds-Rogers
Heather Robinson
Alyssa Sasser
Hilary Stark
Alexa Starr
Timonthy Steenhout
Molly Sullivan
Nathan Svedin
Sarah Svedin
Terra Swartzbacker
Luke Tegeler
Kalia Thao
Carly Thomas
Kiana Verplacke
Jorene Volkheimer
Annie Wang
Whiteny Wang
Michelle Warner
Eli Wouk
Maritt Youngblood
Rashayne Zimmer

Recipients of MSHF vocational scholarships from June 2015 through April 2016 included the following individuals:

Margaret Alpiak
Kelsea Armstrong
Winona Benson
Nathan Binkley
David Calvert
Jessica Daigger
Alexsis Dushkin
Raven Gutierrez
Camilla Helms
Christine Inglet
Jennifer Johnson
Mary McMillan
Christina Moff
Emily Olsen
Katherine Paulick
Tiambria Phillips
Michaela Schneller
Jazzmyne Shapsnikoff
Kayla Weiss
Kristin Wilson

About MSHF: 

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