Mat-Su Health Foundation Scholarships Available: New Mat-Su Scholars Award Announced


Mat-Su residents interested in pursuing education in health and wellness-related fields are invited to apply for Mat-Su Health Foundation (MSHF) scholarships totally more than $350,000. Individual awards may be as high as $20,000 to cover tuition, books and required fees at accredited schools in Alaska and outside. Applications are accepted online at, and the deadline to apply is February 24, 2017.

“Healthcare workers are in high demand, and the scholarship program helps us ‘grow our own’ in the Mat-Su,” said MSHF Executive Director, Elizabeth Ripley. “Of the 25 occupations expected to grow the most in Alaska, 18 are related to healthcare. There are critical needs that can only be met with a highly trained and educated workforce.”

Mat-Su Health Foundation scholarships help defray the cost of higher education in degree programs that emphasize health or wellness, including mental health and substance abuse. Scholarships are also available for pursuit of degrees in non-profit management. Awards for traditional MSHF scholarships are based on each applicant’s stated career goal and financial need as demonstrated by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The maximum amount awarded per student for these scholarships is $20,000. 

New for 2017 is the Mat-Su Scholars Award, which is also based on the applicant’s stated career goal, but not on financial need. Mat-Su Scholars Awards require an essay and interview as part of the online application process and may be for as much as $10,000 each for up to six applicants who meet specific criteria: 

Current High School Students: The Annie Demming Scholarship is reserved for a promising student currently enrolled in high school and planning to attend college. Demming was a part-time nurse at Valley Hospital and later the head of its medical records department. She served in that role until her retirement in 1987.

Behavioral Health Major: The Vivian "Babe" Shaver Scholarship will be awarded to a student pursuing a degree in behavioral health. Shaver was employed at Valley Hospital as an environmental services worker for many years.

Graduate-Level Applicants: The Ya Ne Dah Ah /K’tl’egh’i Sukdu Scholarship will be awarded to a graduate-level student. The Ya Ne Dah Ah /K’tl’egh’i Sukdu scholarship 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.

Hospital Administration: The George V. Larson, III Scholarship will be awarded to a student pursuing a degree in hospital administration or non-profit management. Larson, former CEO of Valley Hospital Association, was known for his deep humility, care for employees and servant leadership. He explored ways to finance a new hospital for Mat-Su. He cemented a capital partnership that enabled Mat-Su Regional Medical Center to be built, changing the landscape of healthcare in Mat-Su forever.

Physician Assistant: The Jessica Stevens Scholarship will be awarded to a student pursuing a physician assistant degree. Stevens was the CEO of Sunshine Clinic and worked tirelessly for 14 years to improve health care in the Upper Su. Her efforts transformed a single-provider clinic into a federally qualified community health center with a staff of 40 housed in a new, state-of-the-art facility.

Nursing: The Darlene Reed Scholarship will be awarded to a student pursuing a degree in nursing. Reed was a long time public health nurse in Palmer and was instrumental in the early years of the Mat-Su Agency Partnership and many other community initiatives.

All MSHF scholarship applicants must be residents of the Mat-Su Borough, U.S. citizens, eligible for the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend and attending (or planning to attend) an accredited healthcare program at least half-time. Complete eligibility requirements and the online application are available at

About Mat-Su Health Foundation: 
Mat-Su Health Foundation (MSHF) 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 institution through board oversight. The MSHF invests its assets into charitable works that improve the health and wellness of Alaskans living in Mat-Su. More information is available at