As part of our commitment to the community, every year since 2003 North Cascade Eye Associates has awarded a $1000 Excellence in Education scholarship to a high school senior who, in addition to being an excellent student, plans a career in the medical field. It’s our way of paying forward to the next generation of health professionals.
This year, with a new school year just around the corner, we had a great idea: why not follow up on past winners and see what they’re doing now? So we did just that. Here are three past winners who are pursuing their dreams – some just as they had originally planned, and some in new, unexpected directions. We’re very excited to share their stories!
Joseph Oelfke was our winner in 2008, and told us he was going to study Exercise Science at Pacific University. And that’s just what he did! He graduated from Pacific University with a BS in Exercise Science, with an emphasis on Integrated Physiology. Currently, Joe is studying to earn his Doctorate of Physical Therapy, also at Pacific University School of Physical Therapy. Now in his third and final year of this program, he is in the midst of his third internship – in Cape Town, South Africa! He works in a school district for kids with disabilities and a hospital for pediatric orthopedic conditions, and absolutely loves his work. He will be returning to school in October to finish out his degree with classes and his final two internships, both of which are in an outpatient orthopedic setting. He’ll graduate in May, and then plans to earn an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist certification and residency, and also complete a fellowship in orthopedic manual therapy. He is working hard to achieve his goals, and we couldn’t be more proud! Eventually, Joe would like to be an adjunct or full-time professor at a physical therapy graduate school.
In 2007, we gave out two awards – a scholarship and an internship. Brian Trinh won the Cascadia Eye internship that year, and spent a summer shadowing Dr. Siapco and other surgeons, where he got to observe LASIK and cataract surgeries, and assisted us in the clinic and surgery center – particularly with Cascadia Eye’s ongoing major project to update all medical records from paper to electronic. He wanted to become an ophthalmologist, and was particularly interested in eventually teaching ophthalmology once he was established. While working toward his undergraduate degree at University of Washington, he found he had a strong affinity for chemistry. He began tutoring general chemistry during his senior year and found that he absolutely loved teaching it. So his career plans changed – in 2010 he graduated with a double BS degree in Chemistry and BioChem, and is currently earning his PhD in Chemistry at the University of Illinois. He still likes the idea of ophthalmology, but knew he could only commit to one career path, and teaching was the one that called to him the most. We are excited to see him doing what he loves and working hard at it, no matter what it is!
Kelsey Bullock won the scholarship in 2006, initially planning to study sonography at Skagit Valley College. Inspired by doctors and medical professionals who had been generous and kind in her life, she wanted to be involved in the medical field in some way, to help people who desperately needed care but might not have the funds to do it. Since then, her vision of how to accomplish this has expanded even more. Kelsey is currently at Loma Linda University in her last year of medical school. She is applying for residency in psychiatry, particularly interested in a career in palliative care (medical care particularly geared toward relieving pain and improving patient quality of life.) Her life is busy but she loves it! And we love the hard work she is putting into a future of serving people in need.
Thank You, Winners
In fact, we couldn’t be more pleased with the stories of all of these young men and women, who are using their gifts to make the future better and brighter. They perfectly exhibit the traits we want most to encourage in future generations, and they have done our Excellence in Education award proud. Well done, Joe, Brian and Kelsey!
Contact North Cascade Eye Associates
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