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Meet the 2015 PHS Respiratory Scholarship Winners

The PHS respiratory therapy scholarship is designed for students or recent graduates enrolled in respiratory therapy programs. There were two awards of $500 and one award of $1,000 given – we had many great applicants. Below, we’re pleased to introduce the three scholarship winners – two of whom we were able to catch up with earlier this month. Congratulations to each of them!  

1st Place Winner: Laura Pomeroy

Laura PomeroyAfter moving to Rochester from Wisconsin in 2009, Laura discovered the respiratory care program at the Mayo School of Health Sciences and set up a job shadow to learn more. Having invested two years in nursing school before realizing it wasn’t the right fit, she immediately knew a career as a respiratory therapist was the right path.

“I came to a realization that nursing was much too broad of a career and not the right fit for me,” remembered Laura. “I still wanted to pursue a career in a healthcare-related field, but focus my attention to something a bit more specific. I like to think it was fate that I somehow stumbled upon the respiratory therapy program at the Mayo School of Health Sciences after all those confusing years of undergraduate work where I changed my major twice.”

Laura has always had a special place in her heart for pediatric care. Working as a home health aide for five years prior to attending RT school, she spent time taking care of children ranging from premature twins to children with special needs, and is part of her reason for choosing pediatrics and neonatology as a clinical specialty.

“Although no one wants to see young children struggling at such an early time in their life, working in pediatrics is fun, enlightening, and provides so much gratification,” said Laura. “I would walk out of the hospital at the end of each clinical shift thinking about a smile or a laugh that I received from a patient or the time that I got to spend during a nebulizer treatment reading a book or playing a game. That’s what makes me smile and want to come back each day and do what I do as a respiratory therapist.”

Following graduation, Laura will work as a respiratory therapist in the NICU and PICU at St. Mary’s Hospital and looks forward to providing comfort to the patient and family while providing quality respiratory care. We are so happy to have such passionate respiratory therapists joining the field, and are thrilled to be able to play a role in helping Laura as she starts her career!

2nd Place Winner: Tatiana Zwart 

Tatiana ZwartFrom the time she was a child, Tatiana knew she wanted to help others in need. Growing up with a mother who had several surgeries related to a genetic condition, Tatiana was exposed to the doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists who helped her mother and family recover and after applying for a job at a nursing home in high school and realized how much she enjoyed providing care for others and making their days a little bit better, her calling to be a health care provider only grew.

Tatiana now attends the Mayo School of Health Sciences at the University of Minnesota Rochester after having researched the different opportunities and landing on respiratory therapy – and is more convinced each day that she made the best decision.

“I am excited each and every day that I get to show up to the hospital and learn while providing care to those in need,” says Tatiana. “I enjoy the challenges and rewards that come with respiratory therapy.”

After graduation, Tatiana will work at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, MN in the neonatal and pediatric intensive care unit as a respiratory therapist and plans to continue educating herself by taking the neonatal pediatric specialty exam, and possibly pursuing her Master’s in respiratory care.

“My goal as a respiratory therapist is to always put my patient first and always provide the best care I possibly can,” adds Tatiana.

2nd Place Winner: Terry Citrowske

DSC_6945Terry Citrowske, who is in his first year of the respiratory program at Saint Paul College, realized his calling to be a respiratory therapist after considering what his own lungs had endured throughout his life. A former smoker before quitting four years ago, Terry also worked in an environment filled with dust and chemical fumes and was diagnosed with allergy induced asthma three years ago.

“I didn’t want to be in the construction business long term,” mentioned Terry. “And as a former smoker who has asthma, respiratory seemed like a good fit for being able to help people with issues that I may have experienced as well.”

With the support of his family, Terry decided to go back to school and will graduate in July 2016. He looks forward to working with children in the future, and plans to continue his education towards a Bachelor’s degree and then possible his Master’s.

“The further I get into the Saint Paul College program, the more I have realized this is what I should have done a long time ago. I am very grateful for being selected by Pediatric Home Service to receive one of their scholarships.”

We look forward to seeing Terry in the respiratory therapy field in the future!

Originally published: May 22, 2015