FHE Health has chosen the first two recipients of its first-ever, annual “Hope for Healing Scholarship.” This year’s winners are Isabel Buckingham, a nursing major at the University of Pennsylvania, and Melanie Ryerson, a master’s student in clinical mental health counseling at the University of Central Florida.
The decision by FHE Health’s scholarship committee came after a highly competitive selection process, which featured 471 applications from qualified students representing competitive schools nationwide. The two $5000 scholarships funded by FHE Health support the education of two promising students, (one undergraduate and one graduate), in mental and behavioral health and/or psychiatric nursing.
A Closer Look at the 2020 Winners of the Hope for Healing Scholarship
Buckingham and Ryerson each have a powerful and inspirational story to share about the personal experiences that shaped their course of study and aspirations. Look for the release of those Hope for Healing stories in the coming days. In the meantime, Buckingham and Ryerson’s short intros are as follows:
- Isabel Buckingham – As an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, Buckingham is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Her research interests lie in the area of eating disorders, depression and addiction, where her work has received international recognition. After graduating in 2022, she plans to earn a Ph.D. in nursing and certification as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.
- Melanie Ryerson – As if graduate school were not enough of a load, Ryerson is in her sixth year as a middle-school, special education teacher. She also volunteers regularly helping adults who have suffered from trauma. After graduation, she hopes to take a job as a mental health counselor in a low-income neighborhood. She is the only one of her parents’ six children to have obtained a bachelor’s degree.
Buckingham and Ryerson will each receive a $5000 grant that will help offset their tuition and/or other educational expenses in their next semester of enrollment.
The Selection Process and Criteria
In the immediate lead-up to their selection as “Hope for Healing” recipients, Buckingham and Ryerson were among eight finalists who advanced to the final stage of selection and whom we profiled in an official March 2 announcement. Each finalist was impressive in their own right: They not only fulfilled the required application criteria but also distinguished themselves for having already made inspirational contributions in the behavioral health field.
Choosing two scholarship recipients from this pool of distinguished finalists was no small task. Ultimately, FHE’s selection committee concluded that Buckingham and Ryerson were uniquely suited for the scholarship because of a composite of factors. Some of these included: evidenced maturity and self-directedness with respect to educational and vocational goals; a close personal connection to their field of study; a track record of service and/or academic commitment in their area of interest; and, a demonstration of need.
This year’s scholarship is only the first of more in years to come, as a continuation of FHE’s investment in the future of behavioral healthcare and tomorrow’s leaders in the profession. If this year’s applicants are any indication, that future looks bright.
Our Upcoming 2021 Scholarships
As we wrap up this scholarship period, we are already looking ahead to the next scholarship period. We will be launching the application period for our 2021 Summer/Fall scholarships within the coming weeks and will update with more news shortly!