Funding Future Medical Leaders from Morgan County

Every year, thanks to The Community Foundation of Morgan County’s (CFMC’s) generous fundholders and donors, we award close to 60 scholarships to Morgan County’s high school seniors totaling over $150,000.  If you are a student wondering why scholarships matter, have wondered how to establish your own scholarship fund, or wanted to understand the impact scholarships have on Morgan County youth, this article is for you.

While we are honored to be a small part in financing students’ continued success after high school, we are even more elated at the opportunity to share this story of how one of our scholars used a CFMC scholarship to soon graduate as a Physician’s Assistant in her 2022 class at Indiana University.

Scholarships, just like grants, are free monies that do not need to be paid back, unlike loans.  Applications usually include a general information application section, proof of transcript and sometimes an essay telling their story and why they are best suited for a specific scholarship.  Sometimes, applicants are also asked to provide references from non-family members such as teachers, coaches, or church leaders.  While scholarship applications are commonly detail-oriented and time consuming, receiving scholarship dollars lessens the financial impact on a student or their family.

All college students qualify for the federal student loan through the Financial Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  While a student does not need to accept the full amount annually, every dollar borrowed compounds at an interest rate of about 5% from the date funds are sent to their university, until they pay off these loans.  Unfortunately, many students once graduated, do not employ a level of income suitable for rent, potential car loans and other expenses, which lessens their ability to properly save for financial goals years down the road.  Therefore, scholarships are very important.  Continue reading as we share the story of Teylor Ellis, the first recipient of CFMC’s Memorial Scholarship Endowment in Memory of Dr. Julia Foster and In Tribute to Jeff Hunsucker.  This is a $2,000 scholarship provided annually to any Morgan County high school senior with a 3.5 GPA who intends to pursue a career in the medical field.

We interviewed Jeff Hunsucker, husband to Dr. Julia Foster, and here is what he had to say regarding the history of this generous scholarship.  “The Julia Memorial Scholarship Endowment history was to help memorialize Dr. Julia Foster.  Julia was a pediatrician at Riley Children’s Health and also a graduate of Hanover College.  She was deeply respected by her peers in the medical profession, by all those whom she cared for and treated, and most deeply by her loving husband, son, and a host of admiring family and friends.  Julia took care of thousands of children in her career.  Some of the children she took care of came to her memorial service, confirming that her love for her patients did not end at the door.  Even since her seven years passing, I receive testimonials of when Julia took care of children.  Julia was a very giving person always putting everyone first before her needs.  Julia was diagnosed with glioblastoma in September of 2014.  She battled the aggressive brain tumor for 5 months when it took her short life.  During her fifty years of life, she pursued her career and loved her family, always putting them first.

The endowment helps students that are pursuing a medical field degree.  We started the process for the endowment during Julia’s memorial service in 2015.   The success from just that day ended up with an endowment.  The goal is to keep the fund going even when we are all gone to continue financing students pursuing a medical degree.

Our first scholarship was given in 2016 to Teylor Ellis, who graduated in May 2022 with a Physician’s Assistant degree.  This is amazing that we have had such success.  The impact is huge; students that may not be able to afford the tuition are helped to offset the fees.  It is important to financially empower students that will have the same passion as Dr. Julia Foster during their career.

I would recommend anyone who would like to memorialize their loved one by helping the community to start a scholarship fund in their memory.  I post the link on my Facebook during the holidays and Julia’s birthday and people who loved her donated to the fund.  It is amazing to see that happen.  Your loved one has touched many people we do not even know, so this is a way to keep them in our thoughts!  With that we are doing something good with the loss we have, it is a special thing.”

Teylor Ellis, 2022 class PA graduate from Indiana University tells her story. “So, this scholarship meant a lot to me. I had struggled for a while to figure out how I was going to fund my college education and how I was ever going to be able to end up pursuing a secondary degree after college knowing the significant financial burden of a higher education. When I got the notification that I received the Julia Foster Memorial scholarship I was stunned but absolutely elated. Through CFMC, I had applied to scholarships, specifically those that support students wishing to pursue a career in the medical field. I read about Dr. Foster and the lasting impact she made through her clinical practice and knew that this scholarship was not only a gift, but motivation to move forward and become a healthcare provider who makes a difference. Physically, this scholarship helped me to be able to pay for college. My parents have always been so supportive of me and my education, so there was never a question if I was going to be able to afford college, it was always a question of how we are going to figure out a way to pay for my education. They helped where they could, but I knew majority of the funding for school was going to have to come from scholarships, grants, and loans. Receiving the Julia Foster scholarship also inspired me to apply for other scholarships, specifically through CFMC. I’ve always shied away from rejection, so receiving this sort of validation in the memory of Dr. Foster was a catalyst for my pursuit to become a Physician Assistant. I ended up funding my undergrad education with scholarships and grants. I had some paid working positions at Hanover, and I worked in the registrar at Hanover, served as a peer mentor and peer advisor for freshman, and worked at the on-campus restaurant known as the Shoebox. Hanover was also a D3 school, so I was unable to directly receive any athletic scholarships, but running track allowed me to be able to seek out additional financial help where needed. During the summers I would work at Dick’s, Target, or Kohl’s and worked as a medical scribe to get experience working with patients. Because of my success of receiving this scholarship, I was inspired to also pursue another CFMC scholarship for Physician Assistant school and was able to receive the Kendrick Scholarship.

I got a wonderful education at Hanover. I majored in Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology and graduated magna cum laude in 2020. My advisor Dr. Dean Jacks introduced me to the physician assistant field. I had been struggling finding a career path right for me. Dr. Jacks explained what a PA was and encouraged me to research the profession and see what I could find and since that day I’ve never looked back. I applied to IU’s physician assistant program the summer leading to my senior year of college, was offered a seat in the Class of 2022, and accepted gratefully. I technically graduate May 14th but will be done with my program in August and take my boards then. I’m most interested in community medicine which serves to provide access to quality healthcare in underserved communities. I hope to become employed in an area in Indiana that has a community health center or somewhere that qualifies as a healthcare shortage area. Overall, Dr. Julia Foster’s Memorial scholarship not only helped me financially, but it was also a statement that someone really did believe in me and my abilities to become a Physician Assistant and here I am now! I’d like to thank all the amazing work Dr. Foster did and how her journey is still unfinished. Although she cannot physically be here with us, her legacy continues through this scholarship and through every patient’s life that I (and other students) will influence. I hope to continue to be a compassionate, competent, and understanding Physician Assistant throughout my career just as Dr. Foster served in her career as a physician.”

Incoming Morgan County high school seniors and parents can find CFMC’s annual scholarships on our website at https://cfmconline.org/donors/scholarships/#cfmc.

Families who wish to inquire more about establishing a scholarship fund can visit our website at https://cfmconline.org/how-to-create-a-fund/ and call our office to meet with CFMC President, Brittani Bentley at 765-813-0003.

We continued to feel honored with Morgan County’s heart for philanthropy and to take care of our own communities.  We are in this together.

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