Scholarships given to local students in health-related education courses

Several local residents pursuing careers in the healthcare field have received scholarships this year from Blue Mountain Hospital, San Juan Health Service and Utah Navajo Health System, Inc.

In July, Blue Mountain Hospital and San Juan Health Service sponsored the Scholarship Scramble golf tournament at the Hide Out Golf Club, in Monticello. Proceeds from the tournament were used to sponsor $500 scholarships to fifteen local residents enrolled in health-related courses of study, and planning to pursue a career in the healthcare field. The fifteen scholarships were a-warded by a committee and chosen from twenty-six applicants.

The initial field of scholarship recipients included: Ann Pugh, Benesa Ruiz, Bethanie Palmer, Cami Black, Cheyenne Yazzie, Jenifer Conway, Jens Brewer, Jessica Shumway, Johanna Whatcott, Katey Pugh, Marlaina Yazzie, Megan Orr, Morgan Hurst Palmer, Rian Laws and Sydnee Felstead. Tournament organizers are hoping to make the Scholarship Scramble an annual event with more scholarships awarded.

In addition to the Scholarship Scramble, Utah Navajo Health System, Inc. recently began its own student scholarship program to assist college students studying to pursue careers in the medical field. Utah Navajo Health System, Inc. is a company grown from humble beginnings in the year 2000. At that time, UNHS had only a dozen healthcare employees and occupied one small building in Montezuma Creek, Utah. Now, in 2017, the organization has grown to more than 300 healthcare professionals, helping patients at five clinic sites. UNHS still needs more skilled medical employees and it would like to support and motivate local students to explore careers in the medical field.

The UNHS scholarship is granted to students from each community served by UNHS clinics. One female and one male will be selected annually from the Navajo  Mountain, Montezuma Creek, Blanding, Monticello and Monument Valley areas. To qualify the following criteria must be met.

  1. Must be enrolled in an accredited college.
  2. Must be seeking a medical-related degree or certification.
  3. Must live or have grown up in an area served by UNHS. The intent is that one day, young UNHS patients will return and provide service to the communities in which they grew up.
  4. Must be a high school senior or incoming college freshman.
  5. UNHS will equitably disburse the awarded scholarships ONLY to the financial aid office of a school.
  6. UNHS retains full flexibility on awarding these scholarships to excellent students, who contribute to their community, have leadership qualities, and have a GPA of at least 3.0.
  7. Must include a 1 to 2 page essay, showing they meet the criteria in item 6 (above), as well as a discussion on their observations of the healthcare needs in their local community.

It should also be noted that this scholarship is not open to UNHS employees.

The award amount will be $1,000 total; $500 per semester. Payment will be sent to the financial aid office of the school.

The first round of scholarships was granted earlier this month. Only five applications were received for this first round, so all five were granted. This years’s winners are:

  1. Shaunisa S. Eskee – 2017 graduate of MVHS, Monument Valley. She’ll be attending Snow College in Ephraim, studying to become a registered nurse and eventually work as an army flight nurse.
  2. Jacinda L. Begay – Montezuma Creek – 2017 graduate of Whitehorse High School in Montezuma Creek. She’ll be attending USU Eastern in Blanding, studying to become a registered nurse and/or lab technician.
  3. Hunter Warren – Red Mesa – 2017 graduate of San Juan High School. He’ll be attending USU Eastern in Blanding, studying to become a pharmacist.
  4. Robert Grant – Montezuma Creek – 2017 graduate of Whitehorse High School. He’ll be attending Ft. Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, studying to become a physical therapist.
  5. Carlyn Goodwine – Monticello – 2017 graduate of Monticello High School. She’ll be attending USU Eastern in Blanding, studying to become a pharmacist.

These scholarships will be granted again next year and notice will be given well in advance to give those who wish to apply time to do so.

For questions about the UNHS Scholarship program, please contact Valerie McKerry, 435-651-3894, or

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