More Students Are Pursuing
Health Care Careers
The foundation didn't set out to award more scholarships this year to students majoring in health care, even though with ongoing construction on the
It has a little to do with supply and demand, said Roberta King, the foundation's vice president of public relations and marketing. On the supply side, some of the foundation's general scholarships have wide-open criteria, while others are open only to students pursuing degrees in specific fields.
"The demand side is that there are just more kids that have decided recently to pursue health care because it's such a lucrative field and the jobs are out there," King said.
The general scholarships are for students in
In a way, the situation brings Grand Rapids Community Foundation back full circle. The foundation began awarding graduate-level scholarships in 1945 to nurses to draw them back to the
This year, of the 522 scholarships awarded, 40 percent were to health care majors, she said. The foundation awarded $515,900 in scholarships, an increase of $8,800 from last year. Of the total amount, $88,476 in scholarships went to health care majors, for a total of 84 scholarships in all. The awards ranged from $250 to $5,000, with an average scholarship amount of $1,000. Scholarships are based on need and merit.
With the development of
"If there were more funds of that nature directed at med school students or health care students in general, then, obviously, we would be able to make more of those awards," Bishop said.
Why are more young people choosing careers in health care? Their reasons vary.
Grace Murphy, a nursing student at
"That experience made nursing a reality to me," she said. "It also just seemed like a very practical thing I could practice anywhere in the world if I decided to go abroad."
Noah Smith, who just graduated from the pre-med program at the
"Those experiences reinforced and solidified my interest in science and in continuing to pursue it," Smith said.
Emily Hautamaki enters her fourth year in the U-M nursing school this fall. By the end of her senior year she will have received a total of about $11,000 in scholarships through Grand Rapids Community Foundation and the various scholarship funds, such as the Virginia Valk Fehsenfeld Scholarship, that the foundation handles. Hautamaki said went into nursing because she liked the idea of being with people at the most vulnerabletimes in their lives to comfort them and help them take care of themselves. She grew up with her grandmother, who was a school nurse and a positive influence on her life.
"I've always wanted to be a nurse," Hautamaki said. "I've never wanted to be anything else. In my heart, it's who I am."