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Meet the Scholarship Recipients

The Foundation for Surgical Technology is honored to announce its 2020 scholarship recipients. Scroll down to see this year's scholars or click Previous Academic Scholars to find recipients from 2015-2019.


Sponsored by the Foundation for Surgical Technology

Joseph Adams, CST

Concorde Career Institute, Tampa, Florida


I've always been a believer that passion inspires passion. I was in my OR rotation during nursing school clinicals when I learned about the role of a surgical technologist. My preceptor was so passionate about his work and his role on the operating team. After a week of working with him I was sold! Thanks to the passion my preceptors and instructor Angela Fernandez always shown, I am now a CST with USF Health and constantly learning more every day.


Sponsored by the Foundation for Surgical Technology

Erin Bell, CST

Holmes Community College, Grenada, Mississippi


I always knew I wanted to go into the medical field and my sister in law told me about surgical technology. I love the environment of the OR as well as the importance of the surgical technologist.

As for now I plan on getting me a job and helping my husband provide for us. In the very near future I hope to have our house built and to eventually have a few children of our own.

Having only done clinicals, I really enjoy learning. I love seeing the new procedures and I love seeing the new techniques that each doctor uses.

I will graduate on June 26, 2020. My favorite field of study throughout the course has been the orthopedic section. I like learning about the different parts of the body, as well as the different procedures that some of my family has had. After graduation, I look forward to starting a new journey in my life and seeing where it takes me.


Sponsored by the Louisiana State Assembly

Heather Bell, CST

Community College of Allegheny County, Monroeville, Pennsylvania


I am so honored to have been awarded this scholarship. Surgical technology is the career I have always dreamed of! My education journey has been long, having a difficult time finding the right career fit for me until I came across the Surgical Technology program. Clinical skills seemed to come very naturally and I had the opportunity to scrub many different specialties including Neuro, Cardiothoracic, and Trauma.

I graduated with Highest Honors this past May and began my career June 1. I am currently training in the Robotics room and in Thoracic surgery. I love that surgical technology allows me to participate in surgery and provide quality care to patients from behind the scenes. I look forward to a future of learning as many specialties and surgeries as possible and hope to one day earn the opportunity to scrub on the Heart team at my hospital.

I am eternally grateful to my amazing instructors who all pushed me hard to be my very best! And also to my husband who has supported me selflessly through this entire journey!


Sponsored by the Louisiana State Assembly

Jacquelyn Crawford, CST

San Joaquin Valley College, Fresno, California


It wasn't until I was pregnant with my first child that I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in the medical field. When I discovered the profession of surgical technology, it resonated strongly with me and ever since I have been on a mission to help and serve those in need with my hands-on skills as a surgical tech.

Working in pediatrics has one of the most rewarding highlights of my young career. I'm blessed to be able to make a small difference one patient at a time, especially in these recent months with the covid-19 pandemic and how it has so strongly impacted the world we live in.


Sponsored by the Foundation

Kamryn Gorges, CST

WSU Tech, Wichita, Kansas


I decided a few year ago to change careers but knew it would be a real challenge. I've always loved taking care of people and felt a strong pull toward the medical field. After looking into different programs, I landed on Surgical Technology. I am loving this field, enjoy the culture of the OR so much, and am now reaping the rewards of all the hard work.

I was hired by a surgery and recovery hospital during my clinical rotations, and just graduated in early June. Now I'm enjoying my new career, without all the homework. I'm so thankful that I took the leap of faith and am proud to be a certified surgical technologist. I am dedicated to providing the very best care to every patient that I have contact with in the OR, while assisting the surgeon to the best of my ability. I look forward to becoming a proficient technologist as I acquire more experience.


Sponsored by the Foundation

Michele Hossink

Ulster County BOCES, Port Ewen, New York


My sincere thanks for awarding me a $1,000 scholarship! I am very honored, humbled and blessed by this award and appreciative of your choosing me as a recipient!

I have chosen surgical technology through the encouragement of others. I have thoroughly enjoyed learning in the classroom but to have it all become real in the operating room has been amazing. Upon graduation I desire and look forward to being the helping hands of the surgeon and/or physician's assistant to help the patients we serve live better lives and if possible, pain free lives. I desire one day to be able to do medical mission trips and ultimately to be the best surgical technologist I can be.

Since the COVID virus put a hold on our ability to finish our clinical cases, my class is still patiently waiting to graduate and take the board exam. At this time we don't have any idea when that will happen. This has certainly been challenging but is helping to make us more adaptable and ready for whatever may come our way. It will make graduation all the more special and meaningful when it does happen!

My sincere thanks again for the scholarship award! I am truly grateful!


Sponsored by the Illinois State Assembly and Surgical Science

Melissa Jensen

Parkland College, Chapaign, Illinois


I would first like to thank the Illinois State Assembly and Surgical Science for this incredible award and express how grateful I am to be recognized. I chose surgical technology as my future career because I want to be a part of an important team that saves lives and strives to improve patients' quality of life. As the last several months have reinforced, the team approach to healthcare is vital and I couldn't be prouder of my profession. Working as a surgical technologist requires selflessness, teamwork and advocacy for patients when they cannot speak for themselves; all values that I respect and hold to a great importance.

I am currently a second-year student with an anticipated graduation date of July 2021. I will be the first medical professional in my family. Having worked in healthcare for several years prior, it was always my dream to work side by side with physicians and medical professionals in the operating room. I feel blessed that I have had teachers and physician mentors who have supported and encouraged my progress. My favorite studies as a student thus far have been microbiology along with anatomy and physiology. I thoroughly enjoy learning new information and how it ties into our roles as surgical technologists.

After I graduate, I know I will have many exciting opportunities in healthcare. I am looking forward to expanding my surgical skills and knowledge and working alongside many remarkable medical professionals. My future goals are to eventually advance to a surgical first assistant and a surgical technology instructor. This scholarship gives me the opportunity to continue to reach my goals but also reinforces that my chosen field is a supportive one. I would especially like to thank my family, the physicians who have mentored me, and Janice Grewatz. I cannot wait to see where surgical technology takes me in life.


Sponsored by the Foundation

Jana Lockhart

Orange Technical College, Orlando, Florida


I fell in love with the human body during my last semester of college. I needed one more science course and anatomy sounded more interesting than environmental science. However, I had never even considered going into the medical field. Everything about the human body amazed me and I loved every second of my classes. I took a class called Principles of Disease with a professor who was a retired surgeon. He showed us videos of his surgeries and I immediately knew it was what I wanted to do. I was pursuing another career in the healthcare field but I knew I wanted something more hands on and there's nothing more hands on than surgery!

On the first day of my Surgical Technology Program, I finally felt like I fit in somewhere because all my classmates were interested in the same things I was. On my first day of clinicals, I was able to scrub and pass with little help from my preceptor. I felt (and still feel) at home in the operating room and I know it's where I am meant to be. I am still in clinicals and I have loved every second of it. I have surprising loved gynecological procedures and most recently, labor and delivery. I am currently preparing my resume for the labor and delivery department of Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies. Once I gain enough experience, I plan to go back to school for surgical assisting as well as doing mission trips.

I couldn't have been properly prepared for the operating room without the help of many people. I was extremely lucky to find a great program with such caring and dedicated teachers who worked very hard every day to prepare us for the operating room. I would like to thank each of my teachers. Mrs. Griffin, Mrs. Carrol, Ms. Aggie, and Mr. Doherty, thank you for caring so much about this job and taking the time each day to care about your students. I would especially like to thank Mr. Lamb, my teacher and program director, for always believing in me and creating an environment for me and your other students to thrive in. Thanks for pushing me to do my best and always answering all my (many) questions (even on your days off). If I become half the surgical technologist any of my teachers are, I will be proud!

I would also like to thank my family for always being there for me and giving me every opportunity to succeed that they could. Most of all, my daughter, Bella, for being the reason I do well at anything and always making me want to do better for her.

I can't express in words how much I love this job. I know I am helping people and I will never stop learning. I have never had a boring day and I always see and learn new things. I think this is one of the most important jobs in the world and I love that I get to do it. Thank you so much for awarding me this scholarship! I am extremely honored to represent the Foundation for Surgical Technology.

$1,000 Don Braziel Scholarship

Sponsored by the Texas State Assembly

Amber McDaniel, CST

Vernon College, Whichita Falls, Texas


I am extremely honored to have received this award sponsored by the Texas State Assembly. I will graduate from my program this August and cannot wait to begin my career, hopefully specializing in orthopedic and general surgeries, in my hometown of Wichita Falls, Texas. Thanks to my lifelong fascination with anatomy and my passion to help others, becoming a surgical technologist has been a dream of mine for many years.

After finally taking the leap and enrolling into school, my two-year old son, Wilder, tragically passed away. As much as I thought about walking away and giving up on my dreams, my classmates and amazing instructor have been a huge support system throughout the program and continue to keep me moving forward. In this field, my mind and hands are constantly busy making a difference in someone else's life, which in turn, motivates me to get out of bed every single day.

I am proud to become a surgical technologist and forever grateful for the strength it has poured into me. Receiving this award after wanting to give up is proof that no matter how hard a situation may be, as long as you keep going, hard situations build strong people. Don't ever give up on your dreams. This is for you, Wilder!


Sponsored by the Foundation

Rebecca McDonald, CST

Holmes Community College, Ridgeland, Mississippi


I chose this as my career because surgery is the most thrilling experience for me because I get to be hands-on with the patient during their operation. Having a part in saving or bettering a patient's life is the most gratifying feeling.

I am going to be working as a full-time surgical technologist at UMMC, the only Level 1 trauma center in the state. I am aspiring to work on the cardiothoracic surgery, cardiac trauma, and/or heart transplant teams there. One day, I would love to advance upward to become a First Assistant, because I love the challenge of more operational responsibilities during the procedures. I would also love the expanded patient interaction that that position would offer.

Working in surgery is the most challenging, exciting experience. It is so satisfying knowing that I can be a vital part of life-saving procedures, and working on a team that is dedicated to bettering the health of our patients is the most rewarding occupation I could ask for. The world of surgery is constantly evolving more than ever before with more revolutionary techniques and devices, and being a surgical technologist allows me to support that mission of surgeons and their teams everywhere.

I graduate June 25, 2020.

Cardiothoracic has to be my favorite [specialty], along with peripheral vascular surgery. But I have also enjoyed neurology because of the delicate work they do. My other interests include urology, gynecology, and general surgery. All of these specialties are so interesting and necessary. I would love to enter into CV and/or PV because it is noble work and there is a greater need for STs in that field. But, as I'm learning more about things in the surgical world, my dreams are evolving. I'll be interested to see what specialty calls my name.


Sponsored by the Foundation

Katrina Poore

Midlands Technical College, West Columbia, South Carolina


Surgical technology hasn't always been what I had envisioned for my career but now it's all I've ever wanted. From the time I began high school I always had a knack for science and anatomy. I knew that whatever I would decide upon as a career it would be something in the medical field. Little did I know my journey would bring me to Midlands Tech where the inspiration and drive of my instructors would make me the scrub I am today.

One thing that I believe clicked with me the most is that you are a servant to the community when you are a surgical technologist. Taking care of others is what I love to do. Not only do I get to help people heal but I also get to see amazing things and every day is something new. I am so thankful for all of my family, friends and instructors who have encouraged me along the way.


Sponsored by the Foundation

Skilear Sharp

University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, Fort Smith, Arkansas


Being awarded this scholarship has allowed me to begin building my funds back up for furthering my education. I try to stay as financially independent as possible and not have to borrow money and create loan debt. I will put this scholarship award money in my savings for when I begin taking classes again, I will be ahead. The road to medical school is paved with dollar signs, this scholarship is allowing me to continue my dream and return to finish my bachelor's degree.


Sponsored by the Foundation

Lesley Warner, CST

WSU Tech, Wichita, Kansas


When my boss of 26 years began planning retirement, I needed to decide what direction I would take next. My mom was diagnosed with colon cancer at this time and this caused me to research careers in healthcare. I was drawn to surgical technology and decided to pursue this field. I hadn't been in school since I graduated from college 35 years ago. At the age of 50, could I really go to school again? Was I too old? Did I still have what it took? I began taking prerequisite courses and did well, surprising myself at little.

Could I actually get accepted into the core program? Yes, I could! Our director, Logan Threet, at WSU Tech was willing to take a chance on me and I was going to fully commit to the program. Now, my goal was to learn all I could and finish with a 4.0 GPA. With the help of great instructors and connecting with an awesome study group, I did just that!

My family's words of wisdom and support along the way and God's blessing also helped me attain my goals. Even though in mid-March, COVID tried to throw off our final semester of clinical rotations, studying for the exam and our job searches, we continued to work hard and persevered through it.

At the beginning of May, I was hired by Kansas Vascular Access Center and have jumped into the peripheral vascular field. I truly enjoy the patient connection and knowing I was part of a team that improved their dialysis or saved the circulation in their extremities. My goal is to continue learning to help the physicians and patients in this field and eventually gain some cardiovascular experience. I also look forward to mentoring and teaching other students in their rotations.

$1,000 Bob Caruthers Scholarship

Sponsored by the Texas State Assembly

Lauren Watts, CST

Vernon College, Wichita Falls, Texas


I met my instructor when I was in eight grade and after completing my prerequisite courses, following high school graduation, I applied to the program. When I was 13, I learned about the aspects of the OR as well as the role that a CST would perform during a procedure. I enjoyed the idea of the interaction with surgeons, as well nurses - all with a common goal of best practice for patient safety. While I was chosen as an alternate, I was then accepted into the program in August 2019. Every day in clinical has validated the feelings of excitement that I had back in 2012 when I first learned of what CSTs do every day.

I'm most interested in labor and delivery and ENT specialty. I would love to work at United Regional following graduation in August of 2020. In the future, I would love to find proficiency in the specialties that I'm not comfortable with as a student now.

The best part of clinical rotation as a student is that I truly learn something new every day. There isn't much that doesn't excite me, rather I'm in sterile processing or in center core learning to put away supplies; or even in a case that I've never scrubbed before. I love that every day brings something new to the table; and I get a chance to improve my skills with each case under my belt. I will graduate in August of 2020 and it feels like a long time coming for the girl who first learned about this field back in 2012.

I enjoy ENT cases as they move quickly and have a wide variety of patient needs. I've also been fond of labor and delivery as I've cried during every c-section I've scrubbed - I'm rather emotional and love babies. It's fulfilling to help mom and baby and ensure their health throughout the case. I've also enjoyed working with the OBGYN doctors. I look forward to post-grad as I will finally be viewed as an integral part of the team, not just a student that is scatterbrained and terrified. I feel like I will have a sense of freedom and will eventually find my own confidence in the OR.


Sponsored by the Foundation

Scarlett Batts

Baptist Health College, Little Rock, Arkansas


As I've climbed into the depths of adulthood, searching endlessly for a professional career in the wondrous world of the medical field, I came across my final destination, in other words, becoming a Certified Surgical Technologist. Growing up I've always excelled in the magical realm of science. Upon diving into the broad subjects of biology, chemistry, psychology, and plenty others, it didn't take long to realize why I fell in love with the relationship between science and medicine. It's how these topics pertain to basic life and how science has allowed several doors to open up and create advances in medicine every single day.

From a future certified surgical technologist's standpoint, I can say that I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of that bigger picture when it comes to being the surgeon's "right hand man" (or in this instance, woman) in the operating room. I love the idea of getting to set up a patient's surgery from beginning to end, all while assisting in specific needs and maintaining sterility throughout the duration of the cases.

I believe this field of technology and medicine is best suited for people like myself, who take pride in their work and doing things the correct way, while maintaining a personal code of integrity, honesty, and always remembering the patient on that operating table is a human being. I am ever so gracious to receive this scholarship fund because it helps me become one step closer in graduating and proudly serving my community the best way I know how - via my talents in the operating room.


Sponsored by the Foundation

Andrew Brousseau

New England Institute of Technology, East Greenwich, Rhode Island


My goal after the military was to explore different career fields and to find passion in a line of work that challenged me and presented opportunities. When I finally arrived at New England Institute of Technology I was at a point where I felt a bit helpless with my search for meaningful work. There is however, an infectious transforming effect when you meet true professionals. I've been lucky enough to have worked under a few of these unique individuals throughout my life to know how rare it is. I found this quality in my Surgical Technology professors from day one and knew I had finally arrived at the starting point of the next chapter of my life.

Fast-forward and I am now nearly half-way through the program and looking forward to starting clinicals in the Fall. It has been both challenging and extremely rewarding to see the bigger picture fall into place. My favorite course so far has been instrumentation. While learning the instruments and their function was interesting, I enjoyed the process of self-discipline the most. It was an enjoyable challenge to train my mind to become more efficient with body movements and the importance of doing so in relation to aseptic technique.

If all goes according to plan I will be graduating in March of 2021. I look forward to everything this field has to offer. Thank you for this award and a big thank you to my professors at New England Institute of Technology.


Sponsored by the Foundation

Taylor Bledsoe, CST

Concord Career College, Aurora, Colorado


I have confidently chosen a career in the surgical technology field to not only help save lives, but educate others on modern surgical techniques and healthcare technology. I have learned an ample amount of skills throughout my education and clinical rotations in surgical technology. I want nothing more than to put my knowledge and practice to good use from here on out.

My current plans are to work as a surgical technologist at MedStar Franklin Square in the main OR, but for the future I would love to pursue an educational approach for the younger generations. I believe if people are choosing this career path, then a hands-on approach is the best way to learn. I have only been in the field for 7 months, but have acquired practice in robotics, general, plastics/burns, ENT, orthopedics, pediatrics, urology, gynecology, and hand surgeries. These specialties all have specific qualities about them which make them unique, therefore experience in each will aid in my expertise.

I recently graduated in May of 2020 during a pandemic, and although my time in the OR was cut short I found a passion for pediatric and plastic surgery. The ability to help reconstruct a face or give a child five fingers when born with four is life-changing to say the least. I am highly looking forward to my employment beginning in July! There's much to be learned and I can't wait for the endless education along the way. Surgery is a high-stress high-reward career, and to be able to be a part of it is a blessing.


Sponsored by the Foundation

Angela Caswell

Ivy Tech Community College, Madison, Indiana


First of all, I want to take the time to tell you "Thank You" for the scholarship. It means so much to myself and my family!

I have always been interested in the medical field and specifically being in the OR. At 40 years old, I discovered the field of surgical technology and decided this was the one for me!

I am currently a student who will graduate in September of 2020. My favorite fields to work in so far have been orthopedics and general surgery. They have both been a challenge but I absolutely love being able to see how our bodies were created to work! I am currently studying at Kings Daughters Hospital in Madison, Indiana, where I plan on continuing to work after graduation. I am looking forward to being able to continue to hone my skills with the wonderful people there!


Sponsored by the Foundation

Mary Gold Camerino, CST

American Career College-Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California


Choosing to go back to academe is a tough decision after practicing a decade in the engineering field and surgical technology program opened the avenue that led me to shift to medical field. I finished the 20 months program and it provided me the certification as a surgical technologist last February 2020. The program itself gave me the strong belief about surgery that it may be able to prolong and preserve one's life.

Due to Covid-19 crisis, I am unable to start my career right away. But it does not stop me in reaching my goals to fit in the surgery world. I am ready to scrub and be a part of strong OR team in caring and saving lives. Once I have established my career, I want to go back to academe to be an instructor to teach and equip the next generation about being a scrub nurse.

I am grateful to foundation for the gift of scholarship. It matters to me. Also, to my husband and daughter who always encourage me since the first day I shifted to medical field. Then to Familia Raval-Camerino and ACC-Surgical Technology Family who trusts me on what I can do. To God be the glory!


Sponsored by the Foundation

Lauren Fallon

Triton College, River Grove, Illinois


I had been wanting to make a career change for some time. I had always had a passion for science and thought a career in the medical field was right for me, however, I was unsure if I should drop everything to pursue a new career. I took a chance and I started to research schools and learn about jobs within the medical field when I came across surgical technology. I realized it had everything I was looking for in a career. I wanted a job that was fast-paced, patient-centered and teamwork oriented. I was accepted into the surgical technology program at Triton College and shortly after I realized I had chosen the correct career path. I recently graduated in May 2020 and I started as a surgical technologist shortly after at a Chicago hospital. I am still learning and absorbing every day I go into the OR.

Every day I look forward to going in to work with the goal of learning and building from the day before. Every surgery can hold something different and learning how to prepare and anticipate is the goal of a surgical technologist. I enjoy the challenge and the unknown and learning how to adapt and learn.

Something that always amazes me is watching the human body at work during surgery. Whether it is how the body reacts to anesthesia, watching the intestine perform peristalsis when scrubbed in for a lap chole, or watching the body heal itself. This career has given me a front row seat to something pretty special and I am happy to be a part of it!


Sponsored by the Foundation

Lisa DiCiaccio, CST

Cabarrus College of Health Sciences, Concord, North Carolina


I plan to graduate in July of 2020. I have really enjoyed studying neurosurgery during my last semester at Cabarrus College of Health Sciences. I hope to have the chance to scrub a few neurosurgery cases during my last clinical semester. My interest in neurosurgery comes from having a daughter born with Spina Bifida. I have learned so much from managing my daughter's care. It has truly been a life-changing experience to see my daughter undergo surgery after surgery. I am so grateful to the surgical teams that have taken such wonderful care of my daughter over the past 7 years, and I can't wait to be a CST and help better the lives of others.


Sponsored by the Foundation

Florent Kamberaj, CST

St. Luke's Hospital, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania


I always knew I wanted to work in the operating room. Even as a child, one of my favorite games was Operation. I just loved watching surgery videos on TV and I absolutely loved watching Grey's Anatomy when I was growing up. My true inspiration came from my parents; my father is a pathologist and my mother was an orthopedic nurse in the operating room. As a child I would anticipate their arrival home so that I could sit and listen to their stories about surgery and the hospital.

My first exposure to surgery and the operating room was when I started my job as a nursing assistant in Post Anesthesia Care Unit at St. Luke's University Health Network at Sacred Heart Campus. I knew that's where I belonged and I didn't want to do anything else in life. It was from that point on I worked harder and harder to pursue my dream of becoming a surgical technologist. I have always thrived in an environment that challenges me to be precise and requires intense concentration and attention to detail.

I knew early on in my career here at St. Luke's that caring for patients in an operating room setting was my calling, which prompted me to go ahead and move forward to becoming a surgical technologist. As the saying goes, "Love at First Sight." That was me and operating room. Surgery days can get long and tiring but I feel extremely fortunate to be able to work my dream job. The only way to do great work is to love what you do. No matter what you want to accomplish in life, always follow your heart and you'll never regret it. I did, and I cannot wait until I graduate and start working as surgical technologist.


Sponsored by the Foundation

Yoshimune Marumo, CST

North-West College Long Beach, Long Beach, California


I am extremely grateful and honored to have been awarded this scholarship. Before becoming a CST, I attended UCLA as a molecular, cellular, and developmental biology major thinking that I would pursue a career in research. After graduating, I had the opportunity to shadow a trauma surgeon and his team at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and discovered my interest in surgery. I was inspired by how every surgical team member worked so diligently and smoothly on a difficult case. This fast-paced and fascinating OR environment served as a catalyst for me for my career change in becoming a CST.

Currently, I am a CST at a surgery center, and it is a challenging but rewarding experience. I found myself growing as a confident and reliable member of the surgical team as I continue to work. After gaining experience for a few years, I hope to continue my education to become a CSFA and go on medical mission trips. Every day comes a new challenge, and I look forward to learning more and making a difference in people's lives.

I also would like to thank my instructors and classmates for the support.


Sponsored by the Foundation

Lindsey Nigro

Tallahassee Community College, Tallahassee, Florida


As a surgical technologist I firmly believe in upholding patient advocacy by using patient centered quality of care. I am dedicated to ensuring each patient has a voice in their most vulnerable state.

As a new graduate I have fine-tuned my skills in a manner that will best serve the interest of patients. I have enjoyed working in Neurological and Robotic surgery throughout my program. As I continue to grow as a professional, I plan to expand my knowledge in the surgical world enhancing patient's health every step of the way. I aspire to become Certified Surgical First Assistant to continue my career in the operating room.


Sponsored by the Foundation

TaShari Norris

Miller-Motte College, North Charleston, South Carolina


I have always dreamed of being in the medical field because of my overwhelming love of helping people. I have very fond memories as a child of playing with my doctor set. I can recall interactions with my cousins of me healing their ailments, as I pretended to be the surgeon. Sometimes I would be the doctor and other times the nurse. Although a simple playful act, the thrill of the idea of healing was fascinating and comforting to me.

When starting my educational journey, I strayed away from my love of medicine and ventured into the field of Computer Science - the field in which I have earned my Bachelor of Science degree. I was convinced by outside forces that Computer Science was the easiest field to maximize financial wealth. I have since realized, after many years of unfulfilled happiness in my day to day interactions, that money isn't everything.

I wasn't in a rush to go straight back to school, so I took some odd jobs and moved around a bit and eventually ended up back in my hometown. Then "life" started to take over. Marriage, kids and jobs that I enjoyed, but never really loved paid the bills. I finally ended up in the medical field as a Certified Patient Care Technician. Not much paywise but I finally felt that childhood feeling again. I found myself enjoying the drives to work daily and even evaluated the thought of entering medical school. Then, you guessed it, "life" happens again. I still hadn't given up hope on getting into the medical field and was determined to do so.

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, one of my favorite drinks. The last time that life decided to kick me in the gut, I decided now is the time to do what I really want to do. I thought that it would never happen, but college, marriage, three beautiful children and several jobs later, I am about to graduate. I am a 46-year-old wife and mother and I am about to become a Certified Surgical Technologist. I am so very proud to say that and am looking forward to beginning this new chapter in my life.


Sponsored by the Foundation

Marco Pernice

Eastwick College, Ramsey, New Jersey


I would like to start by thanking the Foundation for surgical technology. It is truly an honor to be selected for a scholarship.

Ever since I could remember I have been fascinated by the human anatomy. My family owns a funeral home and before choosing the career of surgical technology I earned a practitioner of mortuary science degree to work there. Embalming, assisting pathologists on private autopsies and helping families in their most difficult moments has helped me gain the knowledge and professionalism I can transfer into my career in surgical technology.

For me, it is an incredible experience from working with deceased individuals and transitioning to working with live patients. The gratitude you feel by helping save or make a difference in someone's life for their well-being is what I find to be one of the most amazing feelings in the world. Being able to be part of a team that could make this happen is indescribable to me. I look forward to becoming a Certified Surgical Technologist.

I had the honor of doing my clinical rotation at Stamford Hospital in Connecticut which provides the excellent care, dignity and respect that all patients deserve. During school, I learned two Latin words that have always stood out to me and that is, "Aeger Primo," which means "Patient First". Stamford truly displayed this phrase in every case I was involved in. Being there has taught me the true value of teamwork, surgical conscience and aseptic technique.

After graduation, I am excited to start my career and do what I have worked so hard for these past two years of school. The long hours of work and sleepless nights of studying are all worth it to be able to achieve this goal of mine. I look forward to implementing the knowledge I have gained from my professors at school and also the preceptors that have helped me along the way at my clinical site.


Sponsored by the Foundation

Cara Pfeiffer, CST

Ivy Tech Community College, Valpraiso, Indiana


I am currently a surgical technology student in Valparaiso, Indiana. My official graduation date is August 1, 2020 and after graduation I plan to continue my education while working as a surgical tech. Although I enjoy working in many different specialties, general surgery has my heart. As a student on my first day, I was able to scrub in on a cholecystectomy and I remember being wonderstruck every second of the procedure.

It is truly an honor to be in the OR and a recipient sponsored by the Foundation for Surgical Technology. Because of this scholarship, I am able to focus solely on school and complete my last semester of college free of debt. Thank you for helping me achieve my dreams!


Sponsored by the Foundation

Bethany Pitts, CST

Catawba Valley Community College, Hickory, North Carolina


I was a medical assistant for five years and finally decided that I need to turn my career in the medical field to something that was more fulfilling to me personally. I was unhappy with the desk work and not being able to perform or assist with the procedures. I felt like I was on the sidelines for far too long and I needed to be a part of the action.

I used to be so shy and had low self-esteem. I never thought I would be able to have the courage to pursue my dream. I am finally here and cannot wait to step into the operating room!


Sponsored by the Foundation

Taylor Reichert

Laramie County Community College, Cheyenne, Wyoming


Words cannot describe how grateful I am to receive this scholarship that will allow me to further my education in the field of surgical technology. I chose surgical technology because of how fulfilling and rewarding it is to work as a team to help better patient's lives each and every day. My clinical experience fell off track a bit due to COVID-19, but that didn't stop me to continue to study, and work hard during those months off.

Finishing up my clinical experience, I have specifically found great interest in Neurosurgery and Orthopedic surgery. I am looking forward to graduating at the end of summer 2020 and begin my career at a hospital in my home state where I can be close to my family and friends. I am looking forward to continuing to learn in my job, work with great people, meet all of the surgeons, and continue to do what I love to do.

For the future, I have high aspirations to become a surgical technology first assist. I am so glad I chose the path that I went down when I first applied to my program at my community college, because without the love from my family, support from my friends, and help from my program instructor and fellow classmates, I wouldn't be where I am at today. I am forever grateful to be a future surgical technologist.


Sponsored by the Foundation

Annalise Rau, CST

Kirtland Community College, Grayling, Michigan


I am beyond honored and grateful to be recognized by the Foundation for Surgical Technology with a scholarship. I recently graduated from Kirtland Community College in Grayling, Michigan with an associate in applied science in surgical technology.

I have tried different jobs throughout my adult life, and nothing seemed to be the fit I was looking for. I stumbled across surgical technology while researching local programs and it just seemed right. I have really enjoyed my time in school and clinical rotation, and I am looking forward to entering the working field as soon as possible. I haven't decided yet where this new path will take me-first assisting, teaching, or management - but I am blessed to be starting the journey!

Two years ago, I was completely oblivious that the surgical technology field existed - like I feel many are still in the dark about today. But, of course it exists-it is vital to the operating team! Education sheds light on dark places, and we all know the lighting situation in the operating room! I am so thankful for those who lit my path along the way-fostering my growth and propelling me towards success.


Sponsored by the Foundation

Jessica Turner, CST

Radford University Carilion, Roanoke, Virginia


I decided to go to school to become a surgical technologist because my goal in life has always been to help others. I graduated from Radford University Carilion in Roanoke, VA in May 2020. I moved to North Carolina after graduating and I am now working as a surgical technologist at First Health of the Carolinas-Richmond. I love being a surgical technologist because I get to be a part of a team that is improving someone's life.


Sponsored by the Foundation

Sara Riker

Eastwick College, Ramsey, New Jersey


I have always found the medical field to be interesting and I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a part of it. I chose surgical technology because not only do I love helping people, but I find this area fascinating. I know that by being a surgical technologist I will be part of a very important team and I will be helping to save lives every day.

I will be graduating in October of 2020 and I am looking forward to being in the OR and learning new things as well as enhancing my skill set. My favorite studies have been lab and learning about all the operations.

I have to thank my teachers both Mrs. and Mr. Chambers for being so kind, going above and beyond with teaching and for just being awesome teachers. With everything they have taught me I know I will go far in this field!

$500 Jan Olmsted Scholarship

Sponsored by the Washington State Assembly

Cassaundra Howlett

Seattle Central College, Seattle, Washington


My name is Cassaundra, and I'm a surgical technology student at Seattle Central College. My career choice in surgical technology has been a goal of mine for years, and I'm so excited to be reaching the finish line. I will finish my courses in July 2020 and I can't wait to get in the field full time.

I've been blessed with such amazing teachers, classmates, and preceptors guiding me along the way. I feel like surgical technology is like the hidden gem of the OR. Most people don't even know they are there, but when you understand how surgery works, you see how important it is to have that person around.

Through crazy days of learning all new instrumentation, to proud days of finally remembering how to do that set up, throw me in the OR and I'll be happy!