An Educational Boost

Reprinted from PN February 2002

The Paralyzed Veterans of America Education Scholarship Program provides a welcome helping hand for eligible college students.

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"I cannot express how much it means to have a PVA scholarship," says Rachel Pike. "This is an extremely generous scholarship, but it stands apart from others for more than just its monetary value."

Pike, of Brandon, Miss., is the daughter of Gordon Pike, a Bayou Gulf States PVA chapter member. She attends Mississippi State University.

"I qualified because my dad is one of many veterans who became quadriplegic while serving in the United States military," Pike says. "He's the greatest inspiration a person could ever have."

PVA's primary goal has been to assist its members and their families in improving quality of life. This goal has been addressed through a wide variety of activities, including support of programs designed to provide education and training for veterans with spinal-cord injury (SCI) as well as their immediate families.

In 1986, PVA established an Education Scholarship Program to help PVA life members and their immediate families gain postsecondary educations from accredited colleges and universities across America.

Pike is one of 25 people, including 5 PVA members, who received $1,000 scholarships for the 2001-2002 academic year.

Following is a complete list of current PVA scholarship recipients, their affiliated chapters, hometowns, schools:

Bay Area & Western: John Rishebarger, Sacramento, Calif. (California State University-Sacramento)

Bayou Gulf States: Rachel Pike, Brandon, Miss. (Mississippi State University)

Buckeye: Megan Gaddis, Youngstown, Ohio (Vanderbilt University, Nashville)

Cal-Diego: Anthony Mezzadri, San Diego (University of San Diego)

California: Nicolle Monzon, Garden Grove, Calif. (Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles)

California: Sergey Yashenko, Dana Point, Calif. (University of San Francisco)

Eastern: Edward Bradley, New Rochelle, N.Y. (University of Albany)

Eastern: Catherine Russell, Orchard Park, N.Y. (John Carroll University, Cleveland)

Eastern: William Wenke, Floral Park, N.Y. (Emory University, Atlanta)

Florida Gulf Coast: Courtney Gutenschwager, Englewood, Fla. (Lee University, Cleveland, Tenn.)

Florida Gulf Coast: Carlos Sarmiento, Largo, Fla. (University of Florida, Gainesville)

Great Plains: Cyle Lainson, Tucson, Ariz. (University of Arizona, Tucson)

Keystone: Mara Schenker, Alliston Park, Penn. (University of Pittsburgh)

Keystone: Brian Jones, Woodbury, Ind. (University of Pittsburgh)

Michigan: Kristen Hogue, Ypsilanti, Mich. (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)

Michigan: Jessica Wood, Sanford, Mich. (George Washington University, Washington, D.C.)

National Office: Aaron Holt, Plano, Tex. (Texas A&M University, College Station, Tex.

National Office: Michelle Merkelis, Merrillville, Ind. (Glendale Community College, Glendale, Ariz.)

New England: Brandon Dusick, West Lafayette, Ind. (Purdue University, W. Lafayette, Ind.)

New England: Gary Carpenter, Peterborough, N.H. (University of Massachusetts, Boston)

New England: Michelle Jefferson, Salem, N.H. (Emerson College, Boston)

Northwest: Shannon O'Brien, Swan Lake, Mont. (Carroll College, Helena, Mont.)

Oregon: Jerry Ryan, Oregon City, Ore. (Clayton College, Birmingham, Ala.)

Virginia & Mid-Atlantic: Emily Russ, High Point, N.C. (Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, N.C.)

Virginia & Mid-Atlantic: Christina Swanson, Frewsburg, N.Y. (Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.)

All applicants must be United States citizens accepted or enrolled as full-time students in a degree program at accredited U.S. colleges or universities.

An eligible applicant must be an active life member of PVA, the spouse of such PVA member, or an unmarried child under age 24 who depends—as defined by the IRS—on the member for principal support. Applicants must demonstrate academic achievement.

To date, 135 individuals have received PVA scholarships since the program's inception. The amount granted totals $235,000.

If you have questions or wish to request an application, contact Membership & Volunteer Program, Paralyzed Veterans of America, 801 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006. (800) 424-8200.

Joan Napier is membership/volunteer coordinator at the PVA National Office in Washington, D.C. Ann Santos is PN editorial coordinator at PVA Publcations, Phoenix.


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