Scholarships aid new health care careers

SARANAC LAKE - Several adults from around the region are getting a helping hand in their efforts to change careers and enter the health care field.

The Saranac Lake Voluntary Health Association recently awarded nine scholarships to non-traditional students from around the region, all of whom are attending the North Country Community College for the registered nurse and radiologic technology programs.

Non-traditional students, defined as those who delay entry to college or return later in life for additional education, often have fewer options for financial aid.

"I am in the registered nursing program and, at 49, a nontraditional student," said Kevin O'Reilly of Wilmington, one scholarship recipient. "Most of us can only work part-time so every little bit helps. It will basically cover my books for both semesters. So this will be a huge help."

Lake Placid resident Marcy Miller also received a scholarship from SLVHA.

"I am a massage therapist at Lake Placid Speedy Spa and working on my RN with the goal of becoming a Nurse Practitioner," said Miller. "Everyone needs assistance, so receiving this scholarship from Voluntary Health is a huge relief of pressure to pay for my books."

Other recipients include Kevin Shiflett of Redford, Georgina McKay of Ticonderoga, Emily Doyle of Lake Placid, Christina Barbour, Kyle Munn and Buzz Sawyer of Saranac Lake, and Sarah Doyle of Keene Valley.

"There is a shortage of healthcare professionals, and this is a great opportunity for people to take advantage of a local nursing program," said SLVHA board member Sue Patterson. "With these scholarships it is our intention that our community will continue to have quality healthcare professionals."

Overall, 20 scholarships were available to non-traditional nursing and radiologic technology students entered in NCCC programs.

Radiologic technology student and Saranac Lake native Kyle Munn has once again won SLVHA's Dr. Leonard Bristol Scholarship.

Bruce "Buzz" Sawyer of Paul Smiths won the first annual Jeannette Sheppard Scholarship, which will be used to take the Hudson Valley NYS Certified Paramedic Course. Sawyer is currently an active member of the Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department and North Country Life Flight.

"This particular scholarship was in part made available through the generosity of Stewarts' Shops Foundation," said SLVHA president Roger Neill, DMD.

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