2012 Sara Hopkins-Powell Endowed Scholarship recipients announced

The College of Health Professions awarded six graduate students with scholarship funds for international service learning endeavors that help underserved populations.

Five students within Pacific University's College of Health Professions and one from the College of Optometry have been named the 2012 recipients of a scholarship from the Sara Hopkins-Powell Endowed Scholarship Fund.

The scholarship fund, named in honor of retired vice provost and executive dean Sara Hopkins-Powell, supports student and faculty international education opportunities, as well as international students' education at Pacific.

Consideration is given to students or programs with a demonstrated commitment to service, especially to underserved populations.

In the current year, 34 applications were received from students and faculty from the colleges of Health Professions, Education and Optometry spanning seven different programs for their participation in international educational opportunities in Mexico, Central America, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia.

Following are the 2012 Sara Hopkins-Powell Endowed Scholarship Fund honorees:

Trisha Wilkie (School of Physical Therapy)

In August, Wilkie will begin an eight-week internship at the Athlone School for the Blind in Cape Town, South Africa. The Athlone School was established to educate blind and visually impaired children and has recently expanded to include students with other physical and cognitive disabilities.

It is a highly specialized school and serves students from all over South Africa and Namibia. Its main mission is to provide disabled and underprivileged children the necessary tools to live and work independently.

The student body is comprised mainly of ethnic minority children from urban Cape Town. The facilities at the school include an interprofessional clinic that provides social, psychological and medical services.

In this clinic, Wilkie will help students work through physical barriers to learning so they can be academically successful. She will also work with them to develop strategies and skills to function at their best in their daily lives outside of a school setting.


Kelsey Kallioinen (School of Physical Therapy)

During July and December 2011, Kallioinen was fortunate to have two experiences with physical therapy in Latin America. These both presented tangible situations and cultural contexts that have further shaped her goals as a physical therapist.

She studied medical Spanish and volunteer taught in the hospital's rehabilitation clinic through the Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara, México. Here, Kallioinen was introduced to the role of therapy in the Mexican culture. She learned that, though the desire to change is quite common, difficulties arise with the depth to which the culture is integrated in society.

Kallionen also participated with Pacific University's interprofessional team to serve elders in Esteli, Nicarâgua in partnership with the Jessie F. Richardson Foundation. 

She joined a team of students and faculty that visited two elder homes in Nicaragua and worked with the caregivers and nuns to provide present and ongoing care for the elders. 

The group was presented with an award from the Mayor of Granada during this trip. 


Nicole Randt (School of Occupational Therapy)

Randt will experience a 10-week adventure beginning in Bangladesh to provide in-patient and out-patient rehabilitation services and education to children with disabilities and their families.

This is part of an opportunity she initiated to develop a relationship between the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralyzed (CRP) and Pacific University. From Bangladesh, she will travel to Nicaragua for 10 days to provide healthcare and occu- pational opportunities to individuals living in elder homes. Additionally, she will conduct caregiver education to promote sustainable practices as a continuation of Pacific’s growing interprofessional service project.

As a professional, her goal is to empower individuals to see the abilities and value of every person to strengthen entire communities. These opportunities are an integral part of making connections and gaining knowledge. They will ensure that Randt continues her commitment to the care of underserved populations as an occupational therapist.


Carla Syron (School of Occupational Therapy)

Last December, Syron took part in the College of Health Professions (CHP) Interprofessional "Friends of Nicaragua" trip. She was privileged to be one of the 20 students from five of the CHP schools that worked together to provide care to abandoned elders living in hogars for 10 days. 

As part of the occupational therapy component of this team, her role with the clients included screenings and evaluations, caregiver and community education, activity exploration and adaptations to support greater independence.

She was part of the team that created a relationship with the Hogar de Ancianos Club Santa Maria in Esteli, Nicaragua.

Being part of the Esteli team allowed her to see the process of creating a new program for caregivers and clients that had a hunger for new education and experiences.

Syron said education was one of the most important and sustainable things a service team can provide in short amount of time.


Kendra Cutter (School of Physician Assistant Studies)

The foundation of Cutter's graduate education at Pacific is anchored by experiences with diverse underserved communities. She wishes to continue her practice in these communities upon graduation.

The opportunity to attend a clinical rotation in Kenya provides her with experiential education of how medicine is practiced in a unique underserved community.

The Ray of Hope Foundation allows students to live and work in the rural villages of Bware and Migori. There, Cutter will serve the communities’ healthcare needs at the local clinic and hospital, and by participating in community projects. She will live with a family for the six-week period, participate in cultural traditions and learn the Kenyan medical system alongside healthcare providers, students and volunteers.

In Bware, the Dispensary and Maternity clinic serves mainly women and children. Ray of Hope Foundation’s motto is: “Compassion Transformed into Action.” This motto is consistent with Cutter's belief that being compassionate means sharing skills and serving those that need it most. Once established as a physician's assistant, she plans to continue her international travel and service to underserved rural communities around the world.


Hayden Nguyen (College of Optometry)

Pacific's Amigos Eye Care program is part of Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH) International. Amigos has collected donated glasses, medications, and equipment to provide vision care for underdeveloped countries that do not have regular access to healthcare.

In March 2011, Nguyen traveled to El Salvador on an eye care mission trip. During the five-day clinic rotation, she traveled to five towns in the lower Usulután to provide comprehensive exams and glasses to 1,980 people.

This year, she plans to do more of the same humanitarian work on a trip to Belize with Amigos. For four clinic days, she and her colleagues hope to see anywhere from 300 to 500 patients a day and will treat a variety of refractive errors and ocular diseases. 

Their group consists of 11 students, four optometrists, and other healthcare professionals currently in Belize.

This interprofessional work opportunity improves the overall quality of life for these underserved patients.

Posted by Joe Lang (jlang@pacificu.edu) on May 15, 2012 at 5:33 PM

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