SPRINGFIELD — Thirty-two college students have been awarded a total of $54,500 in scholarships from the Baystate Springfield Educational Partnership (BSEP) to continue their pursuits to work in healthcare.
All of the awardees, who received their checks during a scholarship awards ceremony at Baystate Medical Center on Aug. 9, are residents of Springfield and former BSEP participants. For many of the students in BSEP, the financial barrier of obtaining higher education poses a significant challenge. BSEP works to support students with overcoming this challenge by providing scholarship funds to assist with paying for their education. Over the past nine years, Baystate has awarded nearly $700,000 to students who have completed the BSEP program and are enrolled in a health-related program at a post-secondary institution.
“I got to discover myself while participating in BSEP, and I hope others will discover themselves the way I did thanks to the program. If you have the talent and motivation, programs like BSEP can help you to overcome the financial obstacle that higher education often poses for many students,” said Shakir Tejada, a former Springfield Central High School student now attending Western New England College. He hopes to attend medical school and eventually become a neurosurgeon.
Makay Abdi, a student at Elms College majoring in psychology, said the scholarship would help her to pay her tuition and stay in school. “Originally, I wanted to become a nurse, but after BSEP introduced me to the many career opportunities in healthcare, I set my sights on becoming a clinical psychologist,” the former Springfield Central High School student said.
Other Springfield students receiving scholarships included Augustina Amoako, Richard Amoako, Cassidy Britton, Gaviela Caraballo, Chandra Chamlagai, Kedian Dixon, Bhumika Giri, Yvonne Hamisi, Myngoc Ho, Machcuong Ho, Tri Le, Sarah Meak, Kadeja Miller, Amaralyss Negron, Anderson Nguyen, Louis Nguyen, Kamran Noorishirazi, Joanna Ojeda, Suraji Omoru, Heather Orlowski, Melissa Otero, Emanuel Parrilla, Genesis Ramos, Jezavya Rivera, Olmary Rosario, Cassandra Sarno, Lizandra Sierra, Aliya Stevenson, Shakira Tejada, and Ngan Tran.
“As we are increasingly serving more diverse populations, we strive to hire a diverse workforce that represents the communities we serve,” said Nancy Shendell-Falik, president of Baystate Medical Center and senior vice president of hospital operations, Baystate Health. “The scholarships help to address racial and ethnic disparities in Springfield’s healthcare workforce. By providing low-income Springfield public-school graduates the opportunity to attend college and to become employed in under-represented clinical healthcare professions at Baystate Health, we are continually increasing our workforce through the retainment of Springfield natives in our community.”