Fifteen Wilkes Community College health sciences students are being honored as recipients of the Gertrude Elliott Health Sciences Scholarship for the 2022-2023 school year. The scholarship is open to all health sciences students.

Recipients include first-year nursing students Alexander Bauer, Clemmons; Madison Ward, Hays; second-year nursing students Kimran Bauguess, North Wilkesboro; Tanya Blankenship, McGrady; Brianna Bumgarner, Roaring River; Lauren Parks, Hamptonville; Rachel Sutphin, Moravian Falls; first-year radiography student Hollie Lynn, Moravian Falls; second-year radiography students Jaime Christy, Moravian Falls; Lauren Dowell, Sparta; second-year human services student Latashia Sheets, Moravian Falls; second-year respiratory therapy student, Adrianna Dinkins, Boonville.

“I am so appreciative to the Drs. Bowman for their establishment of the Gertrude Elliott Health Sciences Scholarship and for selecting me as a recipient,” stated Jaime Christy. “This scholarship will help with tuition, books, materials, study aids, and travel expenses to and from clinic sites and ensure that I have the financial ability to graduate in the spring.”

The Gertrude Elliott Health Sciences Scholarship was established 30 years ago at Wilkes Community College by Drs. Tom and Karolen Bowman. The Bowmans stated, “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 have 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 awarded a cumulative total of $333,958.76 to 307 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.

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.

The demand to fill healthcare positions has never been greater, which is making a real impact on what graduates from these programs can expect to earn when they graduate. It is not uncommon for our graduates in the health sciences programs to be making $40,000-$70,000 as a beginning salary, and they can make much more than that if they are willing to pick up some extra shifts. 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.

Dr. Jeff Cox, WCC president; Alex Bauer, Hollie Lynn, Adrianna Dinkins, Tanya Blankenship, Kimran “Brooke” Bauguess, Brianna Bumgarner, Rachel Sutphin, Lauren “McKinley” Parks, Jamie Christy, Allison Phillips, WCC Foundation executive director/vice-president of institutional advancement.
Not pictured: Drs. Tom & Karolen Bowman, Stephani Syburg, Lauren Dowell, and Madison Ward.