Meet the Recipients

The Foundation for Surgical Technology is honored to announce its 2018 scholarship recipients. Scroll down to see this year's scholars or click Previous Academic Scholars to find recipients from 2017.

  • $1,500 Sightpath Medical Scholarship

    Sponsored by the Sightpath Medical

    Amanda Barnette

    New England Institute of Technology, Warwick, R.I.

    As a student from New England Tech, I have a passion for many of my studies. My favorite classes stem from Anatomy and Physiology to Human Pathology. I chose surgical technology as my career for my need to help others. I want to be there to make sure that my patient has a safe and sterile procedure. I have always felt that I had a calling in ophthalmology. My fiancé recently had undergone eye surgery. He needed a prosthetic eye put in afterwards. He feels so much better as well as confident. There is so much more I want to learn about eyes and how they affect the rest of the body. I feel that the increased technology in eye surgeries is extremely important. My plans after graduation are to work in a hospital here in Rhode Island and in the future in South Carolina.

  • $1,500 Chris Keegan Scholarship

    Sponsored by the Foundation

    Anna Krupp

    Moraine Park Technical College, Fond du Lac, Wis.

    First off, I would like to say how appreciative and humbled I am to be the recipient of this award. Life sure leads us on a roller coaster of paths, and I could not be more grateful that is had led me on the path of becoming a surgical technologist. From a young age, I dreamed of working in the medical field. As my yearning to be a member of a medical team flourished into my middle school and high school years, I started considering different career opportunities within the medical field. I was always astonished by surgery and what a team of people could achieve when working collaboratively. This is truly pushed me to choose surgical technology as my field of study. There is nothing more fulfilling than being a part of a multidisciplinary team that can make an enormous difference in a person’s life.

    As I have just finished my first year of core classes, I am thoroughly looking forward to starting clinicals in the fall. I consider myself a hands-on learner and I feel like this will be my time to shine. There is so much I have learned in class and I cannot wait to put these skills to use. One thing that I have enjoyed the most in my studies thus far is doing a C-section simulation with nursing students. It was not only an eye-opening experience and for us to learn and appreciate the roles of other surgical team members, but also eye-opening to the nursing students as to the demands of being a surgical technologist. I also enjoyed the time we had in the OR for observation. I have always found anatomy fascinating but being able to see it in real life was quite surreal.

    Upon graduation in May 2019, I would like to experience as many surgical varieties as possible so I can find one or two that I would like to specialize in. From there, I would like to keep continuing my education and eventually become a surgical PA.

    Again, I would like to thank you for rewarding me with this scholarship. It really assures that my hard work has paid off, and I am doing what I am meant to do.

  • $1,500 FAST Scholarship

    Sponsored by the Foundation

    Elisha Rickard

    Ulster BOCES, Port Ewen, N.Y.

    Hello. My name is Elisha Rickard. I am honored to be one of the recipients of the FAST scholarship. I chose surgical technology as a profession because the idea of combining patient care with the excitement of the operating room seemed like a natural fit for me. I sit for the NBSTSA exam on June 20 and graduate the next day, June 21. I'm extremely excited to begin my career as a surgical technologist soon after graduation.

    I was fortunate enough to have been offered multiple opportunities at local hospitals in the Hudson Valley. I know that this is the beginning of a beautiful and exciting career. In the future, I hope to be a part of missions teams, volunteering around the world, and to also become a traveling technologist. Combining my passions of traveling and patient care would be the ultimate reward! Although this experience has been difficult at times, I am thrilled to embark on this journey of surgical technology!

  • $1,500 Cengage Learning Scholarship

    Sponsored by Cengage Learning

    Christina Eva Santiago

    San Joaquin Valley Community College, Fresno, Calif.

    My name is Christina Eva Santiago and I graduated San Joaquin Valley College in February 9, 2018 as a Certified Surgical Technologist. I choose to become a surgical technologist because I get to do what I love most - helping those in need of it most. The experience of it cannot be described in words. As a surgical technologist our job is extremely crucial for the patient and when the patient leaves our room after surgery they have no idea how much has been done to help them during surgery. This position is not something to take lightly and there is no immediate thank you from the patient or anyone else, but you know as a surgical technologist how crucial your role is and have immediate satisfaction knowing you have gone above and beyond to save a life. To send someone home to their families or giving them another day or another hour to be with people who love them, cannot be described.

    I have been a practicing Certified Surgical Technologist for about six months now and am currently working at Sutter Health Memorial Medical Center in Modesto, California. I am Da Vinci certified and am also becoming well-rounded in various specialties such as ortho, general, gynecology, and bariatric. What I love most about my newly found career is all the different surgical procedures I am able to see and be a part of has been the best experience I have ever had in a profession. Each day is different from the next. Being able to constantly learn and surgeons who are willing to teach has been the best experience overall. I love to learn and being a Certified Surgical Technologist, you are constantly learning new things and technology.

    My current plan for now is to experience as much as I can as a Certified Surgical Technologist and really focus on the procedures and the surgeons performing them, so I can gain a better understanding to assist the patient. I will be starting school again in the fall to start my journey in becoming a surgical registered nurse or physician assistant. Becoming a Certified Surgical Technologist has been by far the best career decision I have made. I am just disappointed I did not do this sooner.

    Thank you for your time and I would like tell any new surgical technologist congratulations for your choice and take it once case at a time and absorb all you can in each case.

  • $1,500 FAST Scholarship

    Sponsored by the Foundation

    Torie Trautman

    Western Dakota Technical College, Rapid City, S.D.

    My name is Torie Trautman. I’m currently enrolled in the surgical technologist program at WDT in Rapid City, South Dakota. My graduation date is May 2019 and my goal when I graduate is to work in trauma. It wasn’t until I was randomly selected to scrub in during our mock mass casualty performing a BKA that I knew trauma was for me. Eventually, I plan on traveling around the United States as a CST. Being able to travel and work as a CST is included in my 10-year goal. I’m so blessed to be entering a field I love, to have so many individuals believe in me, and to be receiving this scholarship. Thank you!

  • $1,500 FAST Scholarship

    Sponsored by the Foundation

    Brenda Weiss, CST

    Baker College, Clinton Township, Mich.

    Thank you for choosing me as one of your recipients this year. Being an only parent, every penny counts! While I was in the surgical technology program, I lost my father to sepsis and then two uncles also passed away. I still graduated with a 3.83 GPA, and in order to achieve that, the majority of my time was spent on studying. I know my children were feeling left out, but I was doing this for us and I knew that it was only temporary.

    I have been a widow for the past four years. My husband felt sick one day and at 3 a.m. (on his birthday actually), he aspirated on vomit. He never drank alcohol and wasn't a smoker. It was just an accident, trying to catch his breath. Panic set in and triggered a heart attack. He was unconscious when the EMS drivers came. He was on life support for three days and was pronounced brain dead from lack of oxygen at 43 years old. Our children were 6 and 7.

    I was working part time when my husband passed away but that summer, the cost of a sitter to watch my kids would have defeated the purpose of working. I get my husband's social security, but that is not forever, so I knew I needed to go back to school.

    Years before, I had worked at St. John's Hospital in Detroit as an environmental services aide cleaning the operating rooms. I was able to see some parts of surgery through the window as I walked by and it fascinated me. I knew I wanted to work in the healthcare field. I talked with a few nurse friends about the different types of positions, and surgical technology was the field I felt was best for me. After Mike's death I knew I needed more than a job, I needed a career. I started taking my prerequisite classes while my kids were in school and did homework after they went to bed. I could not have gotten through this without the help of friends and my mom, who moved in with me so I could do my clinicals.

    I am hoping to find employment within the next couple months and build up my portfolio. Once my kids are a little older, I have been considering working for the Gift of Life. With the help of family, I decided to donate Mike's organs to the Gift of Life. It was the hardest decision I have ever had to make. I know I would have such empathy for any other family that goes through that.

    I finally graduated at 46 years old. It's never too late to go back to school and make yourself better. You just need to take the first step and believe in yourself!

  • $1,000

    Sponsored by the Foundation

    Jalesa Anderson

    Ulster BOCES, Lake Katrine, New York

    First, I would like to thank the Foundation for Surgical Technology for this award! I'm forever grateful! I chose to become a surgical technologist because the learning opportunities in this field are limitless. The most exciting part of becoming a surgical technologist is being able to hold and visualize organs that most people in the world only read about in human biology. Also, being able to challenge yourself everyday because each procedure will never be the same. My intended graduation date is June 21, 2018. I'm looking forward to expanding my knowledge in all specialties and making future students feel comfortable at the field during clinical. Aeger primo!

  • $1,000

    Sponsored by the Foundation

    Meghan Ashcroft

    San Juan College, Farmington, N.M.

    My name is Meghan Ashcroft and I am honored to receive this scholarship! I have always been interested in the health field and watching surgeries. I was excited when I found out there was a surgical tech program in my hometown. After being a stay-at-home mom for 10 years I am excited to be back in school and a part of the surgical technology field.

    I will be graduating from San Juan College’s Surgical Technology Program at the end of July here in Farmington, New Mexico. While participating in this program I have really enjoyed learning more about the body and how it functions. During my clinicals, the surgeons have been very helpful explaining what they’re doing and explaining how the anatomy works. After graduating, I look forward to working and doing what I love.

  • $1,000

    Sponsored by the Foundation

    Shawntel Austin

    Virginia College, Columbia, S.C.

    For as long as I can remember I have wanted to work in the medical field, specifically in surgery. The fact that I am impacting someone life in a unique way makes me happy and hopeful. I have plans to elevate my career path with surgery. I currently plan to work at a Level I trauma center and achieve the experience needed to become a travel CST. I plan to graduate in September 2019. I am extremely excited to work in surgery. The best part about my studies is working in the lab. I am receiving hands-on experience and learning first-hand how to handle uncomfortable situations. My long-term goal is to go back to school and become a cardiothoracic surgeon.

  • $1,000

    Sponsored by the Foundation

    Agnes Bajer

    Mt. Diablo Adult Education, Concord, Calif.

    My name is Agnes Bajer and I am a current surgical technology student at Mt. Diablo Adult Education in Concord, California. I will be graduating in August and I am looking forward to beginning my career in the medical field. I chose to be a surgical technologist because it is both a challenging and rewarding career in which I can help improve the quality of life for others and help save lives. I have really enjoyed the hands-on learning that this field offers and being able to apply what I've learned in the classroom to the operating room. The medical field is always evolving, and I am excited to see what the future holds!

  • $1,000

    Sponsored by the Foundation

    Jamie Burkholder, CST

    Harrisburg Community College, Harrisburg, Pa.

    I am honored to be a recipient of this scholarship. I have just completed my surgical technology program at Harrisburg Area Community College. I graduated with honors and completed the certification exam. My employment in the hospital operating room will begin within the next month.

    I was enrolled in this program in 2010 and was set to graduate in 2012 but was forced to withdraw from classes. My son was born at just 27 weeks and a mere 2 pounds. There were many complications that he was born with that we had to overcome, and I realized it wasn't my time to return to school. He was diagnosed with autism, and I struggled with this. I was a single mother of two boys and working a full-time job. I had just figured everything out between autism appointments, behavior appointments and speech appointments, and thought I was ready to return to school.

    Then in August 2015 my mother was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer and was told no surgery would be performed. She was given a couple of months to live. I then became her caregiver as well. Every other weekend, I had to go to West Virginia to get her and take her to Philadelphia for chemo treatments, then take her back to West Virginia and come back home. It was stressful, especially knowing we only had months left together. During these treatments my mother revealed to me that she wanted me to return to school so she could see me graduate from college. So I went online and reapplied to the surgical technology program. On June 1, 2016, two hours after my mom passed, I was accepted into the program again. With or without the struggles and the finances, I knew I had to make her proud.

    I chose this career because I wanted to help people somehow in the medical field and I knew I did not want to be a nurse. I would have loved to be a surgeon, so I found something I could do in the operating room, while still managing my life as a single mother. I also wanted a career that was hands-on and this is nothing but that. I am a very organized person and eager to expand my knowledge. I loved having a preceptor teach me. I was able to learn in many different ways, all of which made me want to precept students one day as well. I plan to obtain my bachelor degree and go back to school to become a physician assistant, all while continuing to learn in the operating room.

    Again, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to receive this scholarship. It will help me further my education.

  • $1,000 Bob Caruthers Awad

    Sponsored by the Texas State Assembly

    Amy Burr

    North Central Community College, Corinth, Texas

    I choose surgical technology because of my personality type and my detailed eye, which I knew that I could use and is needed for this career. Honestly, I did not have even a clue how much a surgical technician actually does until I started clinicals. This career is one of the most important role in the perioperative environment. The habitual organization and need for resourcefulness is exciting to me. The fact that I get to be a part of saving and helping lives is mind blowing! After graduation, I look forward to continuing my education to work long-term in the logistical side of surgery in operational resources after I get my nursing degree. I now see how vital cutting costs is, but most importantly, protecting the patient. This is a challenge every perioperative department faces. I find that sort of challenge quite interesting and compelling. Thank you again for this most honoring award.

  • $1,000

    Sponsored by the Foundation

    Kelsey Carter

    Robeson Community College, Lumberton, N.C.

    Hello, my name is Kelsey Carter. I am a student at Robeson Community College in North Carolina. I will be graduating from the surgical technology program in early August. I chose surgical technology as my career because I knew I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. When I first found out what a surgical technologist was, I automatically knew that it was what I wanted to do. I wanted to always live by Ager Primo. Currently my clinical experience in cardiothoracic and peripheral vascular has been hands down my favorite specialty. Participating in cardiothoracic and peripheral vascular surgery never ceases to amaze me. It shows me how amazing the body truly is. After graduation, I plan on jumping right into work as a CST and obtaining my bachelor’s degree.

  • $1,000

    Sponsored by the Foundation

    Jennifer Curcuru

    Keiser University, Tampa, Fla.

    I am extremely grateful to the Foundation for Surgical Technology for being chosen as a scholarship winner. I’ve worked in and out of operating rooms as an ancillary and administrative staff member for almost two decades, but I always I wanted more. I wanted to be part of the action, not just reporting about it. I’m thankful to Keiser University in Tampa, Florida, for giving me the exact push I needed, as well as an extraordinary education. I was able to maintain a 4.0 average and be inducted into Phi Theta Kappa with their guidance and encouragement. With their help and preparation, I am excited to begin my journey continuing to help others as a Certified Surgical Technologist.

  • $1,000

    Sponsored by the Foundation

    Melissa Elam

    Maine Medical Center, Portland, Maine

    I am currently enrolled in Maine Medical Center’s School of Surgical Technology and will graduate this August. I began my career in the medical field over a decade ago as an emergency medical technician and currently I am employed as an advanced emergency medical technician. During clinicals for my AEMT I discovered the role of the surgical technologist, and years later, I found myself enrolling in MMC’s program. Being 33, a wife and a mother of four, making the choice to go back to school to become a CST was exciting and terrifying at the same time. I would be furthering my education to help provide a better life for my children while living on my own in a completely different state away from them. Every week has been bittersweet, but I look forward to teaching them that they can do anything they set their mind to and never to stop reaching for their goals.

    Graduation is almost here and I know this choice was the right one. I love every aspect of the operating room. I have found the experiences I have had with all of the services thus far have been incredible. I love being part of a team that works together for the best outcome of the patient. I love the different procedures and the ability to make a positive change in someone’s life. I would love to practice in all services to gain experience and knowledge to keep up with the always changing medical field.

    I am truly thankful to the Foundation of Surgical Technologists for this scholarship. It is an honor to have been chosen as one of the recipients. Without the help and support of my incredible husband, family and professors, none of this would have been possible. I feel blessed to have been able to have this experience and I am excited to begin my career as a Certified Surgical Technologist.

  • $1,000

    Sponsored by Foundation

    Jessica Gary

    Moraine Park Technical College, Fond du Lac, Wis.

    I am thankful and honored to receive a scholarship through the Foundation of Surgical Technology. This scholarship will allow me to focus on my studies and graduate from Moraine Park Technical College in May 2019. Being a part of this surgical technology program allows me hands-on experience in an operating room and has further solidified my passion for this field. I am amazed at the wonders of modern medicine, and I can’t wait to see, and be a part of, future innovation to help others.

    After graduation, I plan on continuing my studies to either become a surgical physician’s assistant or a surgical first assistant. Taking the lead to change peoples’ lives and experiencing miracles that happen daily is truly amazing! Again, thank you.

  • $1,000

    Sponsored by the Foundation

    Hollie Hurdle

    Lord Fairfax Community College, Warrenton, Va.

    I am so honored and humbled to be awarded the scholarship by the Foundation for Surgical Technology. This is so amazing and crazy at the same time, considering at one point I did not have any idea what a CST even was. I had applied for nursing school at Northern Virginia Community College but was not accepted for that semester. I had run across a one-year surgical tech program at Lord Fairfax Community College. I had never even heard of one until then, but it sounded interesting, so I applied, got into the program and I love it!

    I plan to continue my education even after certification in August 2018. By doing this I will still be able to finish my associate degree. I still plan on getting a bachelor’s degree in nursing as well. However, I never know what God will place in my path; He determines my steps. I am very blessed to have special people around me and the life experiences I have encountered. At the end of the day my goal is to be a better person than I was yesterday and to help someone else in that same way.

    A huge motivator for me is learning the details of every situation and learning from it. In high school I grasped the concept that “when I compete with others, I never feel good enough or totally happy with myself.” So I only compete and set standards with myself, which is great because I push myself to my limits. I am nervous for what the future holds, but I am more excited to see what I will be able to do and where God will lead me. If I live to be 30 or 256, I want to make sure I used my time wisely and made every day the best it can be! I want every person to know they are important and feel like they have a special place in this world.

    Success to me is that I have a circle of love and people that support each other! Yes, money is important, but I feel it should not be at the top on a priority list. My mom’s side of family are all very successful and hard workers, but I am the first generation to graduate college. I did not want to go to college at first, but I knew that, these days, it is important to have some type of education. It’s the fear of things that get in my way, so every time I start to get scared or unsure I just think, “Let your faith be bigger than your fear.” So just believe in yourself and know that you can!

  • $1,000

    Sponsored by the Foundation

    Amber Jewell-Clay

    Northwestern Michigan College, Traverse City, Mich.

    Surgical technology became my career path when I realized that my bachelor’s degree was not employable without further education. A master’s degree was not the direction that I wanted to go in so, supplementing my education with a practical certification made sense. That is when I discovered the career of surgical technology. This program has proven to be complimentary to my previous education path. Currently, I am enrolled in the surgical technology program at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City, with an expected December 2018 graduation. Following graduation and obtaining certification I plan to seek employment close to where I currently reside. Gaining experience and confidence in my role is my main objective at this time. My time in clinicals presently has been very enlightening, application of what I have learned up to this point has been my favorite part. It has been the event that has brought everything together.

  • $1,000

    Sponsored by the Foundation

    Krystal Knott, CST

    Frederick Community College, Frederick, Md.

    Hello, my name is Krystal Knott. I am beyond grateful to be receiving a scholarship from the Foundation for Surgical Technology.

    I just graduated this past spring from Frederick Community College in Frederick, Maryland. I enjoyed my classroom and clinical experience throughout the program. While attending clinicals at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, I was fortunate to have had a rotation in almost every service (except ophthalmology). It’s hard to pick just one, but if I had to, I would choose cardiology as my favorite service. The team that is required to work together in order to complete any given procedure amazes me. Though it may be overwhelming at times, it’s an astonishing experience to be a part of the team.

    I chose surgical technology because surgery has always been an interest of mine and I enjoy helping people. I am excited to begin working full time in July, as I have accepted a position in the pediatric OR at Johns Hopkins Hospital. While working on the PEDs floor, I will be able to learn and scrub all of the services instead of signing on to just one. I feel this will help me become a better tech, as well as help me grow in the healthcare field. I hope to use my experience as a stepping stone to higher education, as I would like to go back to school to become a physician assistant. While I would like to stay in the OR as a PA, I may explore working in other environments such as a doctor’s office.

    The encouragement from my classmates, instructors and preceptors, as well as the support from my family and friends, has helped make my dream become a reality. I’d like to extend the biggest thank you to the Foundation for granting me with a scholarship to help with the costs of school. It’s hard to tell where the future will take me, but I am very excited to begin to figure it out.

    “Just Keep Scrubbing!”

  • $1,000

    Sponsored by the Foundation

    Jennifer Manzo

    Cape Coral Technical College, Cape Coral, Fla.

    It is truly an honor and a blessing to be awarded this scholarship. This is a complete career change for me. I spent the first half of my life working jobs that satisfied the financial needs of my family. Now, at the age of 50, I needed to find a way to give back. I live in SW Florida and there is a tremendous need for medical professionals because of our aging population. I wanted to find a career where I could make a difference. I found out the surgical technology program was being offered at Cape Coral Technical College. In this program I found the most inspiring instructor I have ever had. Ms. Dona Hoyt is a well-respected member of our medical community here and it is an honor to study under her.

    My plans for now and the future are to continue my studies with my eye on graduation in December. I so love the other students in the class. We work well as a team, helping and encouraging each other along the way. I would love to be able to specialize in cardio-thoracic, trauma or OB when I graduate.

    The first six months of school have been wonderful. I love doing the mock surgeries in class and going out to different surgical sites for observations but I cannot wait to get out in the field and start clinical rotations. I am in this for the long haul. I love every aspect of being a surgical technologist. I love the idea of being part of a team of people with the collective goal of making life better for their patients.

  • $1,000

    Sponsored by the Foundation

    Carrie Muchow, CST

    Madison College, Madison, Wis.

    I decided at 37 I wanted a new career path. Both of my boys were in school full time, and I decided to get my surgical tech degree. I could not be happier with my decision. I proved to myself and my family that I could succeed, even with all of my other commitments. I have made life-long friends and my teachers were excellent. I couldn’t have done it without their support and the support of my family and friends. I currently am working at a rural hospital and I am loving it. I really enjoy helping my patients and keeping them safe and making sure they have the best outcome. I graduated on May 11 and have been at my new job since May 21. Definitely the best life changing decision for me!

  • $1,000

    Sponsored by the Foundation

    Michele Musgrove

    University of Cincinnati Clermont College, Cincinnati, Ohio

    I'm so happy to be chosen as a 2018 Foundation for Surgical Technology Scholarship recipient! I am pursuing a career in surgical technology because I want a fast-paced, hands-on career that is centered around helping to improve the quality of life for others. As I enter my second year of school, I am most excited about starting my clinicals at the only hospital in the area with a Level I Trauma Center and being part of a team that must work fast and think critically to save lives on a daily basis. After graduation in the spring of 2019, I hope to secure a position as a member of either the trauma or transplant team at UCMC and to eventually return to school to complete my first assistant certification.

  • $1,000 Don Braziel Award

    Sponsored by the Texas State Assembly

    Erica Pratt

    Collin County Community College, McKinney, Texas

    I am so honored and thankful for receiving this scholarship. I have always wanted to work in the medical field helping people. My job as a PCA at my hospital has allowed me to become familiar with many of the jobs that help save lives every day. I knew the first time I stepped into the operating room that surgical technology would be the right fit for me. I found that I really enjoy the anatomy of the body, and I love helping the doctors who are saving people and making a difference in their lives.

    My journey back to school has been long and difficult, especially with a full-time job and a family to take care of. But the Collin College Surgical Technology Program has been such a wonderful experience. To my director and my professors, I want to say thank you for believing in me!

    I graduated on May 11, and I began working in labor and delivery at my hospital. I am part of a wonderful surgical team and I am looking forward to honing my skills there as well as furthering my skills in the operating room. And hopefully in the coming years I’ll be returning to school to further my education in my new career.

  • $1,000

    Sponsored by the Foundation

    Angela Rankka

    Anoka Technical College, Anoka, Minn.

    For many years, I thought about going back to school to become a surgical technologist. Assisting in procedures was the duty that I not only excelled at as a medical assistant, but most enjoyed. The stars aligned in 2017 for me to do so. I will be graduating in December 2018 from Anoka Technical College in Minnesota. For me, the most enjoyable aspect of the program has been the practical applications. To be able to put all that you have learned into action is exciting. After graduation, I look forward to joining a great team and gaining experience so I am able to become a first assistant one day.

  • $1,000

    Sponsored by the Foundation

    Sheena Ravenel, CST

    Harrisburg Community College, Harrisburg, Pa.

    Being a recipient of this scholarship is truly an honor and I am humbly appreciative. I’ve always been fascinated with the human body from my first fetal pig dissection in high school. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in biology in 2006, I went to work in the corporate world for eight years but knew that was not where I really wanted to be. I’ve always wanted to work in a hospital and just was not sure in what field. I begin researching nearby colleges and programs and came upon the surgical technologist program at my local community college. I wasn’t even sure what the role of a surgical technologist involved. To be accepted into the program one of the requirements was to complete a shadowing experience in the operating room. I was thrilled with the experience and it bought me back to that biology lab in high school.

    I was accepted into the program and after my first hands-on surgery I knew this was the field for me. As a new graduate, I am excited to begin my career as a CST. Becoming a CST will allow me to have a voice for others and to become a part of a great team with the same goal: Aeger Primo. One of my personal goals is to join a medical mission team and travel to third-world countries to assist those people in need. To see a smile on their faces and hearing the words thank you from family and friends makes this role even more rewarding.

    Lastly, I would like to thank all my family and friends for their support and encouragement; my classmates for going through this journey with me and being a listening ear; my preceptors, clinical instructors and program director for their knowledge, leadership and confidence in me. I will make you all proud.

  • $1,000

    Sponsored by the Foundation

    Kolette Stuhmer

    Lincoln Land Community College, Springfield, Ill.

    I’d like to express my sincere gratitude for the scholarship that’s being awarded to me! It’s a wonderful feeling, having your hard work and efforts recognized! My love for this career is just the beginning!

    I first discovered this job back when I was in the U.S. Navy, stationed onboard the USS Nimitz CVN 68. Although my occupation rating in the Navy wasn’t medically related in the slightest (aviation ordinanceman), I spent a good portion of deployment volunteering in the medical department, helping out with vitals of fellow shipmates and assisting the team with verifying proper keepings of medical records. Shortly after, I found myself making friends with the only two hospital corpsmen on board the ship who had special training in the surgical department. If anyone on the ship needed surgical attention, these two would be the ones taking care of every aspect, minus of course anesthesia and the actual surgery. The surgeon took note of my interest and eventually asked if I wanted to observe some surgeries. He spent his time explaining step by step what he was doing during the procedure. The love grew, and the surgeon asked if I wanted to scrub in. From these moments my passion was planted!

    Originally from Washington State, I moved in 2015 with my family to Illinois, where I dove head first into my college studies to become a surgical technician. Support from my entire family has been a blessing to me! I’ve learned a great amount of information and I continue to learn as the days press on. I’ve been fortunate to have an amazing instructor and have the privilege of saying that the director of the program that I am in is the Illinois State Assembly president. With this, I have been able to see the importance of being involved in the State Assembly with attending seminars and other events. Upon graduation I plan to pursue a career at a local hospital. After passing my certification exam, I plan to excel and never stop educating myself!

    This scholarship will lift a portion of my financial burdens and will enable me to focus on my studies that much more! Being a wife, a mother and a full-time student can put stress not only mentally and physically but, on my household financially as well. I am very grateful for this scholarship and obliged for the recognition from the Foundation for Surgical Technology. Thank you again for this opportunity.

  • $1,000

    Sponsored by the Foundation

    Alexanderia Swank

    Southeast Technical Institute, Sioux Falls, S.D.

    The most used reason to work in the healthcare field is “to save lives” or “to help people.” While these words ring true for everyone, it’s not the main reason why I want to become a surgical technologist. For me, I had an operation my junior year of high school and my procedure went very well. After surgery I was transported to the post anesthesia care unit and I began to experience a lot of fear and anxiety. One of the hospital workers came to my bedside and talked me down. I had asked her if she was my nurse and she told me no, she was a surgical technologist. I didn’t know what that meant at the time but she was the first face I saw after my surgery and she really made me feel better.

    I obtained a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and post-graduation I got an entry job in the field. While the job was interesting, I felt as if I wasn’t doing enough and there could be something that I could do that would really make an impact. I came across an article about surgical technology, and as I read it my mind went back to when I had my surgery and I remembered the woman that checked up on me. I started reading more and more about the field and I instantly fell in love. I researched the field and found Southeast Technical Institute. I scheduled a tour of the health facility and I met the program director and, from just listening her talk, I knew that this was the career for me. I am about to go into my second year at STI and I know for a fact that I have found something – my calling.

    After graduation I am most looking forward to experiencing life as a CST and learning the numerous surgical procedures. After gaining more experience I would love to get training to become a CSFA.

    I am very honored that the Foundation for Surgical Technology selected me as one of the recipients for this scholarship and I plan to make the Foundation and Southeast Technical Institute proud of me in my lifelong adventure as a CST. It’s not only an honor, but a privilege.

  • $1,000 Chris Keegan Scholarship

    Sponsored by GSquared Medical

    Neha Tailor

    Long Island University, Brooklyn, N.Y.

    I would like to start by saying thank you to the Foundation for awarding me the Chris Keegan and GSquared Medical scholarship. I am very grateful and proud of my achievement, making the time and effort of becoming a surgical technologist worth it. I also want to thank my professors who have provided me with guidance and support to achieve my end goal.

    I started my career back in 2011 in the United Kingdom, where I trained and practiced. I immigrated to the United States in 2016 after marrying my husband. I wanted to continue to practice here in the United States but faced many ups and downs. I was not able to transfer my education credits and finding a job to support myself and my family proved difficult. After several months I was recruited as a medical assistant for a doctor’s office. This allowed me to be in a familiar environment and save up to start the CST program.

    I wanted to continue my passion and deep interests in surgical technology and its practice. I want to continue being a part of a service where I am not only gaining satisfaction from patient care but also personal and career satisfaction. I am due to graduate in January 2019.

    The aspects of surgical technology that I have enjoyed the most to date is understanding anatomy and pathophysiology and applying it to surgical procedures. I enjoy the exposure to different specialties. Training and working with individuals from all different backgrounds and cultures is also satisfying and enjoyable, because we are there together to learn and help each other to achieve our goals. I thrive in the surgical environment and being in the lab because it’s hands-on with never a dull moment. The clinical environment allows me to think critically, stimulating me to be autonomous and anticipate the needs in a fast-paced environment.

    After graduation and becoming a CST, I hope to be employed by a hospital with exposure to different specialties. This experience will allow me to widen my horizons and future pursuit of teaching student surgical technologists in the clinical and educational setting. I want to empower surgical technologists to develop just as I have. Learning is a lifelong cycle, and I do not want to stop learning. I want to be the best I can in my field of work. I look forward to taking the next steps in my career.

  • $1,000

    Sponsored by the Louisiana State Assembly

    Emily Thom

    Herzing University, Kenner, La.

    My name is Emily Thom and I am choosing surgical technology as my career, due to my love for surgery and helping patients in medical need. My plan is to finish school for surgical technology and eventually work in the field of reconstruction for breast cancer patients. I am planning to graduate from this program in April 2019. Right now I have only taken a few classes, so my favorite would have to be microbiology. I find it interesting to learn about many types of bacteria and diseases, and also how to treat them. After graduation, I am looking forward to working in any facility as a surgical technologist within any field of medicine. I want to be able to experience all types of surgery, while assisting in any way that I am needed.

  • $1,000

    Sponsored by the Foundation

    Candace Town, CST

    Baker College, Clinton Township, Mich.

    As a recent graduate of the surgical technology program from Baker College of Clinton Township, Michigan, I have to say that I have found a new energy and passion for my career and profession. I worked in the hospitality industry as a restaurant manager for over a decade but always felt like there was something missing. That missing part of my life is what drove me to pursue my lifelong passion of working in the healthcare industry. I decided on surgical technology not only because it is really exciting but the fact that you get to provide hands-on care to the patient as a part of the operating room team that can truly improve or save a patient’s life.

    My career ambitions include running for a position in the Michigan local chapter of the AST, working as a CST that specializes in cardio-thoracic and orthopedic surgeries, possibly becoming a surgical technology educator and furthering my own education by becoming a CSFA and then RNFA.

    My passion for medicine and surgery strives me to do my best always! I am proud to be a surgical technologist and am beyond honored to be awarded a scholarship!

  • $1,000

    Sponsored by the Foundation

    Aaron Vazquez

    Midlands Technical College, Columbia, S.C.

    I began my quest in surgical technology in August 2017, because I wanted to help those in need and I saw this as the most practical option for me to be hands-on and make a difference in people's lives. I plan to graduate in August 2018. I have enjoyed my clinical rotations among the major hospitals here in Columbia, S.C. I have gained valuable experience in the various services in these hospitals; one of which included a rotation at our local Level 1 Trauma Hospital. This has helped me grow and appreciate more the roles of the various members of the surgical team; even more so the surgical technologist’s aspects.

    I am most looking forward to starting two careers in my life. Both as a surgical technologist and as a husband. I will be getting married just a few weeks after graduation, and I am proud to have selected a career that allows me to help improve patients’ lives while providing for my future wife. I am excited to work for any facility that will offer me the opportunity to work as a surgical technologist and improve my skills in the field after graduation. In the future, my plan is to continue my education in order to become a Certified Surgical First Assistant, thus increasing my ability, knowledge and capability to help others. I would not have been able to get this far without the help of my instructors, preceptors and fellow surgical technologist classmates. Thank you for all your help! Aeger Primo!

  • $1,000

    Sponsored by the Foundation

    Chris Vozzella

    Cape Coral Technical College, Cape Coral, Fla.

    As a meat cutter working for a grocer, I decided a career shift was in order; one that would allow me to support my family and help us achieve our dreams. A friend of mine, who had also worked for the same grocer, completed his surgical technologist program and achieved certification. He told me how much he loved working in the field. Naturally, I had to see what all the fuss was about and followed suit.

    As a student, I’m thoroughly enjoying the experience and challenge of being a ST. Being in the thick of things and helping patients improve or even save their lives has been great, and I wake up wondering what cool new surgery or procedure I’ll get to see next. We’ve also spent a good deal of time in sterile processing at the hospital, and it’s really eye opening to see what has to happen behind the scenes before a patient even enters an OR.

    After I finish my ST certification I plan to work as hard as I can while building my family and going back to school for Certified Surgical First Assistant. I never want to stop learning, and I want to be as great an asset to the surgical team and the patient as I possibly can.

  • $1,000

    Sponsored by the Foundation

    Marie Wolfe, CST

    Jefferson College of Health Sciences, Roanoake, Va.

    What an honor to be selected for a scholarship, especially from an organization that has a significant impact on my chosen profession as a Certified Surgical Technologist. Thank you!

    I didn’t choose surgical technology has my profession. It chose me. After working for a veterinarian for several years, during one of those hectic surgery days I was asked to scrub into surgery and assist with a bleeding dog spay. In that single moment of pure chaos, I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, while being provided with the opportunity to make a difference in a life every day! Being a part of surgery affects the patient for the better, even if it is to just make them more comfortable. We work as a team to improve that patient’s quality of life.

    Having graduated from the Jefferson College of Health Sciences Surgical Technology Program on May 4, 2018, having passed the NBSTSA Exam on May 2, and knowing that Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital had offered me a position as a CST was something that people typically only dream of. My training will include becoming a part of their total joint team!

    One thing that I have learned over the last year while completing my clinical practicum is that the surgeons cannot do their job without a scrub, a scrub cannot do their job without their circulator, and no one can do their job without anesthesia.

    Every moment, every specialty, and all the different ways surgery can be accomplished have been a component of my growth. Orthopedics, thus far, is where I feel at home the most. I have always enjoyed the skeletal system and orthopedics simply provides me that little extra adrenalin. Someday, returning to school is part of the plan to successfully complete and graduate from a CSFA (Certified Surgical First Assistant) program, which will lead me to becoming an orthopedic surgical PA!

  • $500

    Sponsored by the North Carolina State Assembly

    Shereece Dove, CST

    Carolinas College of Health Sciences, Charlotte, N.C.

    My name is Shereece Dove and I just finished my associate of science degree in surgical technology at Carolinas College of Health Sciences. I chose this career because patient care is a genuine passion of mine but I wanted to do more to help patients. I also love the operating room so being a surgical technologist was a no brainer. There is constant change and ability to grow within the field. There’s always a new robot or new technique and there is always an opportunity to learn. Now that I am certified and have completed my program, I plan to work for Atrium Health as a CST and gain more knowledge in my field. In the future I plan to apply to physician assistant school to become a surgical PA.