Upland Hills Health Awards Five Scholarships to Local Students

Each year, Upland Hills Health awards two area high school students $500 each, in the form of a scholarship to pursue a healthcare career. For the second year, the Upland Hills Health Foundation stepped in and chose to fund an additional three scholarships. The five recipients for 2022 are Margaret Tarrell and Maya Tarrell of Highland High School, Lexi Kinch of Mineral Point High School, and Gracie Gordon and Lexi Peterson of Pecatonica High School.

Margaret Tarrell

Margaret will attend UW-Madison, where she plans to pursue a degree in neurobiology. In her application, she stated, “I have always been interested in the brain and how we process our environments. My mom is a psychologist and her influence has given me respect and admiration for the field. Understanding where our emotions come from, how we are influenced, and how we can better communicate with the people around us are all valuable assets for every person….Pursuing neurobiology will allow me to have a career helping patients…After undergraduate school, my goal is to study at medical school with the intention of becoming a physician. Working in a rural area such as the area I grew up in is very important to me.”

Maya Tarrell

Maya plans to pursue a career in speech and language pathology, beginning with her undergraduate studies at UW-Eau Claire. Her path has been influenced by her own medical challenges and the healthcare she received. “Being diagnosed with a rare medical condition at a young age presented a unique set of challenges, along with some valuable life lessons,” she wrote in her scholarship application. “I’ve learned the value of perseverance, self-acceptance and the power of adjusting one’s goals…Living with this rare medical condition and working with medical specialists for many years has led me to pursue a career in healthcare. The healthcare professionals I worked with are always patient and understanding, providing me with the most beneficial treatment. In the future, I would like to improve my clients’ quality of life, just as my medical specialists did for me.

Lexi Kinch

Lexi has been accepted to UW-Whitewater to pursue a degree in biochemistry. She wrote, “I have always had a passion for helping others through school-run functions like Community Service Day and community-run organizations…In my junior year of high school, I fell in love with chemistry and biology. It was easy for me to pick up and understand, so I decided to pursue a degree in biochemistry. I was hoping to become a medical researcher specializing in cancer research with this degree. Not long after I made my decision I was diagnosed with stage three Hodgkin Lymphoma…I have had so much first-hand experience that most people will never see. I can learn something new about my body and my health with each check-up…My passion for this area of healthcare has been validated, and it pushes me to want to help others who have or will have experiences similar to mine.”

Gracie Gordon

Gracie, who currently works as a CNA at the Upland Hills Health Nursing and Rehab Center, will attend Edgewood College to pursue nursing. Her application explained how her experiences with her own healthcare providers influenced her to pursue a nursing career. “I was in seventh grade playing basketball, when all of a sudden a sharp stabbing pain hit my hip, and I knew it wasn’t good…For the next few months I missed everything I loved, but mainly volleyball. I saw all of my friends running around having fun and it was so hard to watch. In the meantime between my two needle procedures [to fix my hip], they put me in physical therapy to help me get stronger. I was not excited at all, this was the last thing I wanted to do. All I wanted was a fast recovery to be a kid again. My first day of physical therapy I met my trainer. Her name was Beth…Whenever I thought I couldn’t do it, she reassured me that I could, it was me against the world. She believed and pushed me even when I thought I couldn’t anymore. After six months of physical therapy I finally saw some results. I was starting to become stronger, and getting my life back to “normal.” It took me a year and a half of recovery and learning a lot about my body…My goal is for all of my residents, and patients to remember me the way I remember Beth. I am going to work hard and to study medicine and hopefully become a nurse, changing and saving lives in so many different ways.”

Lexi Peterson

Lexi will attend Southwest Tech this fall, to pursue her associate’s degree in nursing. In her application, she wrote, “It is, and always has been so fascinating to me to see the way that bodies can heal, and keep us alive. Taking care of others has always been something that I enjoy doing, and find very interesting. This love of science, combined with my personality traits led me to believe that the nursing field was a great career decision for me…I will be attending Southwest Technical College in the fall, to pursue my associate’s degree in nursing. After graduating from this program I will be enrolling in a program at a four year university to obtain my bachelor’s degree…I would like to specialize in Emergency Room Nursing or Labor and Delivery Nursing.”

Other scholarships available through Upland Hills Health and in partnership with Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, can be found at uplandhillshealth.org/scholarships.

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