Lauren Dowell has been named the 2022-2023 recipient of the John N. Bennett Scholarship at Wilkes Community College. Dowell is a second-year student in the Radiography program and is slated to graduate in May 2023.

After graduating from Alleghany High School, Dowell went to Brevard College to play softball and obtain her bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences Studies. While shadowing her aunt, who is an x-ray technologist, she discovered her passion and enrolled at WCC in the Radiography program.

Dowell currently resides in Alleghany County and works as a student technologist at both Hugh Chatham Health and Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Wilkes Medical Center.

In 1956, Dr. John N. Bennett, a radiologist at Wilkes General Hospital, had a vision to begin a Radiologic Technologist training program, a rigorous, two-year certificate program that taught students how to be effective radiologic technologists.

As the program flourished, the John N. Bennett Endowment Corporation was established on June 8, 1989, to honor Dr. Bennett’s contribution to the profession, as well as the program, by raising funds to be used for the educational and scientific benefit of students, current and preceding, of the hospital-based program.

The Wilkes General Hospital School of Radiologic Technology, later renamed Wilkes Regional Medical Center School of Radiologic Technology, was administered through Wilkes Regional Medical Center from 1956 until June 2013. From the time of its conception in 1956, until June 2013, the program served approximately 319 students. However, due to a change in the American Registry of Radiologic Technology standards, requiring all Radiologic Technologists to have at a minimum an associate degree to be eligible to sit for the national registry; the program was transferred to Wilkes Community College. The Wilkes Community College Radiography Program transferred in six currently enrolled WRMC School of Radiologic Technology students and accepted a new cohort of first-year students in the Fall of 2013.

In the Spring of 2015, the board of directors for the John N. Bennett Endowment Corporation saw fit to dissolve the corporation and made a donation to Wilkes Community College on December 15, 2015, to fund the John N. Bennett Scholarship for radiography students and to honor the originally intended goals of the John N. Bennett Endowment Corporation.

Members of the previously established John N. Bennett Endowment Fund are Kristain Miller, Angie Blevins, Dianne Davis, Sharon Absher, and Ruth Adams. Betty Winslow was a consultant.

Contributions to the John N. Bennett Scholarship may be sent to WCC Foundation/John N. Bennett Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 120, Wilkesboro, NC 28697.

Lauren Dowell