Twenty-three Wilkes Community College health sciences students are being honored as recipients of the Gertrude Elliott Health Sciences Scholarship for the 2020-2021 school year. The scholarship is open to all health sciences students.

Recipients include first-year nursing students include Alivia Anderson, Wilkesboro; Hannah Ellis, Millers Creek; Hannah Garcia, Moravian Falls; Jodi Walsh, Boomer; Kathryn Parsons, Purlear; Kaylin Blankenship, McGrady; Madison Carter, East Bend; first-year respiratory students include Seng Xayavong, North Wilkesboro; Courtney Fulton, Boone; Hannah McNeil, Roaring River; second-year nursing students include Abigail Smithey, Wilkesboro; Ashleigh Pack, North Wilkesboro; Jordan Campbell, Harmony; Kendall Elledge, North Wilkesboro; Morgan Shatley, Jefferson; Stephanie Walker, North Wilkesboro; second-year medical assisting students include Alicia Aleli Sandoval, Ennice; Alyssa Prevette, Roaring River; second-year radiography students include Audrey Johnson, Millers Creek; Charity Visnic, Millers Creek; second-year respiratory therapy students include Kendra Carter, Wilkesboro; Melissa Edwards, West Jefferson; first-year human services students include Nicolia Miller Briggs, Wilkesboro.

The Gertrude Elliott Health Sciences Scholarship was established at Wilkes Community College by Drs. Tom and Karolen Bowman. They said, “We are proud to help participate in making sure that anyone who wants to come to WCC for an Allied Health Program should be able to do so and not be barred for financial reasons. Wilkes County and the surrounding area has always benefited from the influence of WCC and its programs, and in these troubling financial times, it is important to support WCC and what it does for the people of Wilkes County.”

Drs. Tom and Karolen Bowman are involved in the scholarship process and work with WCC officials to select the scholarship recipients each year. To date, the scholarship has been awarded to 277 health sciences students. Initially, the scholarship was granted to nursing students; however, in 2013-2014 the scholarship was made available to students in any health sciences program.

“Thank you so much for making the Gertrude Elliott Scholarship available. Your generosity will greatly assist me with my educational expenses and make obtaining my nursing degree a reality,” stated recipient Kaylin Blankenship. Blankenship’s long-term goal is to become a nurse practitioner.

Gertrude Webster Elliott graduated from Davis Hospital School of Nursing in 1954. She worked briefly at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem before returning to Wilkes County to work for Wilkes General Hospital in the Emergency Department until her death in 1988. Gertrude will always be remembered for her loving care of the many patients she served and her devotion to and love of the nursing profession.

“During this time of the COVID-19 global pandemic, we have never had more clarity about the critical role our healthcare workers play in our lives. All of our health science programs continue to be strong areas for our students to get two-year associate degrees and then get good jobs making a living wage. It is not uncommon for our graduates in the health sciences programs to be making $40,000-$70,000 a year. The Gertrude Elliott Scholarship makes completing an associate degree possible for many of our students by providing scholarships to deserving health sciences students,” says Dr. Jeff Cox, president of Wilkes Community College. “We sincerely appreciate the generous support from individuals like Drs. Tom and Karolen Bowman, which makes it possible for many of our students to realize their dreams of a college education and a rewarding career in a healthcare profession.”

Contributions to the Gertrude Elliott Health Sciences Scholarship may be sent to WCC Foundation/Gertrude Elliott Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 120, Wilkesboro, NC 28697.