Minority, disability scholarships provide opportunity for a dozen students

A diverse group of eleven adults and one child stand in two rows. The adults each hold the certificate signifying their scholarship winning Grand Rapids, Mich. — For the second year in a row, Dereck Chavis, 46, received a Mary Free Bed Guild scholarship to continue his studies in occupational therapy. Chavis was among 12 students who received scholarships at a ceremony held June 7. The full list of recipients is below.

Chavis was a track and field coach in his first career at Hope College in Holland, Mich., and Murray State University in Murray, Ky. He became interested in the medical field as he was exposed to doctors and therapists with his student athletes.

When his father developed leukemia, Chavis saw how important it is to have “good people around those in need.” It was the catalyst that inspired him to change careers. Having completed his classroom work at Davenport University in Grand Rapids, Chavis is completing a 12-week clinical rotation at Mary Free Bed, where he works with patients who have complex medical conditions, including cancer.

The Mary Free Bed Guild established a minority scholarship program in 2006 to provide scholarships for students pursuing degrees in nursing, neuropsychology, orthotics, prosthetics and rehabilitation therapy programs. A second scholarship program for students with disabilities was created in 2015. In both cases, the goal is to promote academic achievement for outstanding students and hope they will consider Mary Free Bed when it’s time to look for employment. Nearly $500,000 has been awarded over the past 11 years. Applications for the 2018-2019 scholarships will be accepted beginning in January 2018.

2017 Mary Free Bed Scholarship Recipients

Minority Recipients
Aquandralyn Bajric (nursing)
Dereck Chavis (therapy)
Erica Little (therapy)
Hang Do (nursing)
Maju Wilhelm (nursing)
Manvir Kaur (therapy)
Rhodene Mullings (nursing)
Sophia Blackwell (nursing)
Vy Than (nursing)

Disability Recipients
Amy Brundidge (nursing SW)
Brooke Doherty (nursing SW)
Nathaniel Harder (computer science)
Maju Wilhelm

Mary Free Bed is a not-for-profit, nationally accredited, rehabilitation hospital. For more than 125 years, Mary Free Bed has restored hope and freedom through rehabilitation for children and adults who have experienced brain injuries, strokes, spinal cord injuries, multiple traumas, amputations, cancer and other diagnoses. The combination of comprehensive services and an exclusive focus on rehabilitation enables specialty physicians and staff to help patients achieve outstanding clinical results.

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