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Meet the 2013 PHS RT Scholarship Winners

The PHS respiratory therapy scholarship is designed for students or recent graduates enrolled in respiratory therapy programs. There were two second place awards of $500 and one first place award of $1,000 given – we had many great applicants! Below, we’re pleased to introduce the three scholarship winners.


Xe Yang –Winner of the First Place $1,000 RT Scholarship

Growing up, Xe remembers always wanting to play the role of a helper – the mother, the father, the doctor. By helping, she was able to make an impact in someone’s life – a trait she carried into her adult life as she became determined to have a career as a health care professional.

Now, as a student at St. Catherine University, Xe is preparing to be a respiratory therapist and wants to work with children in the future. “Children are new to this world, and their level of understanding is not as broad.  They may question a lot about their condition, and it is extremely important to have focus on these individuals so they can gain better knowledge about their condition.  With the improved technology today as well as adding some fun into equipment, I hope to one day be a part of a service that involves children to become active and live freely while maintaining a healthy well-being with their condition.”

Xe says that she came into the respiratory program inspired by St. Catherine University’s mission ‘Lead and Influence’ – as an RT, she is excited to lead others to good health and influence them to a better meaning of life, while also being a leader in regard to new research coming out that challenges current procedure and medicine. As someone who cares deeply for her patients and everything she does, Xe says her primary reason for wanting to become an RT is because she finds enjoyment in the care she can provide for others.

Xe is currently an active member of the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) and the Minnesota Society for Respiratory Care (MSRC). She also serves as the Vice President of the Respiratory Care Club at St. Catherine University.

Melissa Weiman –Winner of Second Place $500 RT Scholarship

Currently a junior in Respiratory Care at St. Catherine University, Melissa hadn’t always planned on becoming a respiratory therapist. But after searching for a new career, she recalled the care her sister received at the local hospital after an accident and began considering a path in healthcare.

While following a respiratory therapist on a shadowing shift, she remembers being struck by the depth of skills and knowledge RTs practice with each patient. “From comforting a child in the emergency room during an asthma attack, showing compassion to family members while adjusting a mechanical ventilator on a comatose patient in the ICU, to interacting with other disciplines throughout the hospital, I recognized that the respiratory therapist is an integral part of the health care team,” Melissa said.

Melissa looks forward to her ICU rotations beginning soon, and has gotten involved in community projects through the American Lung Association – recently organizing a group of RT students to participate in the Fight for Air Climb in February. As she looks to her future, Melissa has plans to help people through a holistic care plan, and is also interested in acute care and rehabilitation.


Mohamud Mohamed–Winner of Second Place $500 RT Scholarship

When Mohamud was in a car accident in 2006 and saw a respiratory therapist regularly as a part of his recovery process, he gained a great deal of appreciation for the role the medical personnel played in his life. Along with the observation that was brought to him regarding the need for a Somali-speaking respiratory therapist in the community, Mohamud’s interest was flared. “From then on, I decided to become a health care professional, especially a respiratory therapist, so that I could have a profound impact on patients’ lives when they are most vulnerable.”

While Mohamud is currently focusing on graduating and building patient care skills, he looks forward to eventually go into the teaching aspect of the respiratory field – specifically, patient education about the use of equipment, conditions and reductions of risk associated with respiratory therapy.

As a member of the Respiratory Therapy Student Club, Mohamud has recently helped fundraise over $500 for children with cystic fibrosis. He is also an active advocate for health awareness and vaccination within the Somali community, helping many elders find and understand medical resources they have available. This summer, Mohamud plans to work on awareness of COPD by promoting a smoking cessation program in his community!

Congratulations to all the winners! We can’t wait to see where all of these outstanding future RTs go with their careers.


Originally published: May 3, 2013

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