Respiratory Scholarship Winners Bring a Bright Future for Patient Care
The PHS respiratory 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 and what motivated them to pursue a degree in respiratory care.
1st Place – Jenna Miller
Jenna first recognized her passion for healthcare within the Haitian mountains during a medical mission trip her freshman year of college – and it is something she’s been pursuing ever since.
After witnessing how much a seemingly simple task of breathing can impact a person who struggles with respiratory problems, Jenna knew this is where she wanted to make an impact. As a marathon runner, she knows firsthand how much of a difference improved breathing can have on the amount of energy a person has – and wanted to be able to teach techniques to help others overcome their limitations from disease.
“I want to inspire people to enjoy every aspect of their life, both the good and bad, so their lives can be just as beautiful and vibrant as they are, instead of being controlled by an inability to breathe,” said Jenna. “Giving back the ability to breathe is the smallest, yet most meaningful way that I wanted to make a difference.”
Currently, Jenna spends several hours each week working with residents in a rehab setting to help them return home with as few limitations as possible, and also mentors a young woman on the benefits of physical activity and proper nutrition. She continues to challenge herself by attending respiratory therapy conferences, and looks forward to putting her classroom expertise to use in a professional setting as she approaches graduation.
“As I start my career, this scholarship has helped me discover that one of my biggest dreams is to return to Haiti to help heal the human suffering that exists there,” added Jenna. “I am confident that embarking on such an adventure will help me achieve my goals, strengthen and fine tune my advanced respiratory skills, and help me become not only the best respiratory therapist I can be, but also a better version of myself where I am constantly challenged and inspired by this beautiful world we live in.”
Runner Up – Ashley Lex
After earning a Bachelor’s degree in biology, Ashley still felt a strong curiosity toward science and continued learning – so when she discovered her passion for a career in respiratory therapy, it felt like finding a hidden treasure.
“Respiratory therapy sparked my interest because of the therapist’s ability to diagnose and create a treatment plan to help the patient recover,” said Ashley. “The challenges that come with respiratory physiology are something I seek out in a career.”
Ashley looks forward to adapting to the changes that come in the ever-evolving field of healthcare as advances in technology and care drive further understanding about respiratory care. She enjoys the balance between independent care and active coordination with a healthcare team – something she has come to appreciate through a lifetime on sports teams and the lessons learned in collaboration.
By receiving this scholarship, Ashley sees more than a monetary value – she sees a future for the profession.
“This recognition is an assurance that there are people out there who believe in the profession, know that it makes a difference, and are willing to invest in students to be that change,” said Ashley. “I am honored to be a recipient and more motivated than ever to involve myself in this profession.”
We look forward to seeing respiratory therapists like Ashley making a difference in the lives of her patients for many years to come!
Runner Up – Katelyn Becker
Although Katelyn is not on the career path she thought she would be, her future in respiratory therapy is exactly where she wants to be.
After spending many years determined to become a physician, Katelyn soon found her enthusiasm for the profession diminishing and met with her career adviser for advice. When she was encouraged to research respiratory therapy, Katelyn set out to shadow RTs and soon knew this was a career she would excel in.
One day, Katelyn remembers putting her learning into practice while walking to the nursing home she worked at and helping a woman who needed assistance after the tubing on her oxygen cylinder had disconnected.
“I had learned how to assemble the tubing from an oxygen therapy unit in my respiratory class,” remembers Katelyn. “The woman was overjoyed that I was able to make proper connections – I remember how great I felt having been able to impact her so significantly thanks to the knowledge I had.”
Katelyn looks forward to being able to make an impact in the respiratory care throughout developing countries in her career, and plans to become involved in research group and public health to attain these goals.
“Education is worth the money we put in, but it’s unfortunate how expensive it can be,” adds Katelyn. “A respiratory scholarship like this one from PHS has a genuine interest in students and the overall growth of RT for which I am very grateful!”