Katherine Wilkerson of McDonough was recently awarded the Elizabeth Wilmot Bull Scholarship from the Georgia Council on Auxiliaries and Volunteers of the Georgia Hospital Association.
By Johnny Jackson
Katherine Wilkerson of McDonough was recently awarded the Elizabeth Wilmot Bull Scholarship in the amount of $1,000 from the Georgia Council on Auxiliaries and Volunteers, which is a subsidiary of the Georgia Hospital Association.
"It's an honor," said Wilkerson, who is pursuing her master's degree in speech pathology at Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Ga.
"It's exciting to know that I'm getting some more help with paying for my schooling," she added. "Graduate school is really expensive."
Wilkerson is among 14 students, of 44 scholarship applicants, to be awarded a Elizabeth Wilmot Bull Scholarship, according to Nancy Jaudon, scholarship chairman for the Georgia Council on Auxiliaries and Volunteers. Scholarship amounts range from $500 to $1,500.
Jaudon, who is also a 15-year member of the Henry Medical Center Auxiliary, said the scholarship applicants must be recommended by their local hospital auxiliary.
Applicants must have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher, and must have been accepted into a medical program at a Georgia college or university. She said local auxiliaries must write a letter explaining why they are sponsoring the applicant, while applicants must obtain two other written references and complete a four-page scholarship form.
"It is to be able to give them some measure of money for getting into the medical field," said Jaudon. "We need more and more doctors, more and more nurses, and more people who can run all these tests that are so important now. These fields [in medicine] cost an awful amount of money."
Wilkerson said she is partly inspired by her parents, McDonough residents Kenny and Amy Wilkerson, and her grandmother Betty Gecoma, who is a volunteer in the Henry Medical Center Auxiliary.
The graduate student, who also received a bachelor's degree in education from Valdosta State, said her future career will include providing voice therapy services. The profession also involves providing therapeutic assistance to patients with degenerative diseases and ailments like dysphasia, a swallowing disorder afflicting stroke victims.
Wilkerson said she aspires to work in a rehabilitation facility or eventually develop a private speech pathology practice.
"I'm more interested in the hospital aspect of the field," Wilkerson said. "I like working one-on-one with people. I learned that [through being a speech pathologist] you could go into the medical field, and you could work with patients. I would like to help people improve their quality of life."