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Thomas Soldan Healthy Communities Scholarship Award Winners

Having received many impressive applications from students around the country, Thomas Soldan is happy to announce the recognition of outstanding young women who demonstrate the importance of hard work and perseverance and who stand as an inspiration for sustainable and local health-initiatives in their communities.

2018 Winner: Aiden Stephan

Scholarship winner Aiden StephanMy name is Aiden Stephan. I am seventeen years old and I live on the Southern Oregon Coast in Port Orford. I have been home schooled all my life, and I love engineering, design, music and outdoor activities. I enjoy seeking out challenging opportunities that help me to improve in my leadership skills, physical training, public speaking and public presentations, drill, survival skills and emergency preparedness and in developing meaningful relationships with others. I strive to do my best in all I do and I find difficult challenges good for my personal and professional development.

I have been a member of the Oregon Wing Civil Air Patrol for over 2 ½ years. I have gained invaluable skills and experience during that time. As an NCO, I have led and mentored three younger cadets, I have participated actively in our weekly group meetings and drill exercises. I have taught the CAP Rocketry Course to our squadron, presented once a month at squadron meetings on aerospace and related activities and I have volunteered over 120 hours of community service. In Dec 2017, I served in the Cadet Cadre at the CAP Alaska-Oregon Joint Encampment in Anchorage, Alaska. This past summer, I served as the Cadet Commander at the Tillamook CAP Rocketry Encampment in Tillamook, Oregon. It is a long term goal of mine to be a search and rescue pilot in the Oregon Wing Civil Air Patrol.

This year my family and I are building a new house and we are doing all the work ourselves. This is giving me a great opportunity to gain skills and knowledge about engineering, design, carpentry, electrical, plumbing, and construction in general. Daily I engage in creative thinking and problem solving as my family and I work to make concepts and ideas manifest into concrete reality. For my scholarship application I have submitted a solar outer window covering that I designed and engineered myself for my family’s new home that is included later in the application.

This last fall I started attending college at George Fox University and I am financing myself through college. I am majoring in Engineering and minoring in Music. I play five instruments, perform in two local music groups and choir and I enjoy writing my own music. I have discovered that music is a language that bridges all cultural and communication gaps and can unite people to share in a common joy with one another. Last fall, I completed a six week exchange to Japan, where I lived with a host family, attended the local high school and toured highlights of the country. I took my violin with me and over and over I discovered that regardless of age, race or language, music opened up people’s hearts and brought smiles to everyone’s faces. Music has always been a part of my life. I aspire to share my love of music with others be it through community music, music therapy, musical instruction or in spiritual practice.

I hope to attend a semester abroad during my college experience and I plan to serve two years in the Peace Corp when I graduate, helping others in underserved areas of the world.

In his own words: “I was honored and pleased to be chosen as the recipient for the Thomas Soldan Healthy Communities Scholarship 2018. I am committed to health and well being and I believe that promoting and developing healthy communities is key to empowering individuals and businesses to facilitate positive change in our world. I am majoring in Engineering at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon and it is my goal to combine my love of and experience in origami with innovative engineering to design new products that can change lives. Thank you Thomas Soldan for supporting my education and for supporting healthy communities nationwide. Your time and efforts have been well invested in me and I will in turn share my skills and knowledge with others in my community to help empower each and every one of us to be that change that we want to see in the world.”

2017 Winner: Kristen Dupard

Kristen Dupard is a recent Magna Cum Laude graduate with a degree in Biochemistry from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She is a New Orleans, Louisiana, native. At Southern Miss, Kristen was a member of the Honors College, the Student Government Association, the Ronald E. McNair Scholarship Program, the Luckyday Citizenship Scholarship Foundation, the NSF Lewis Stokes Mississippi Alliance for Minority Participation Scholarship Program (IMAGE), and Who’s Who Amongst American Colleges and Universities. Kristen also co-founded the Empower the Vote, Save the Vote, voting initiative to increase voter registration amongst young people and was selected twice to be a part of former President Clinton’s Clinton Global Initiative University. She was invited to attend the White Houses’ United State of Women Conference. In addition, she was crowned both Miss University of Southern Mississippi and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. Miss Black and Gold for the District of Mississippi, inducted into her university’s hall of fame and received the Oselola McCarty community service ward. Dupard also studied human rights, politics, and religion abroad in France, Germany, and Switzerland. Most recently, Kristen completed an internship with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in the U.S. Senate and participated in the Columbia University Summer Public Health Scholars Program. Kristen will be attending law school this Fall where she plans to focus on Health Law.

In her Own Words: “I am so thankful and blessed that I was selected for this scholarship. Obtaining a legal education is a hefty financial investment and this scholarship will be of great support. Similar to Attorney Thomas Soldan, I look forward to using the success of my future legal career to invest financially in the future of others. ”

2016 Winner: Kayla Hunter

Spelman College student Kayla Hunter is the 2016 winner of the Thomas Soldan Healthy Communities Scholarship.In 2016, Kayla Hunter, a senior at Spelman College, is the winner of the Thomas Soldan Healthy Communities Scholarship celebrating students connection to their communities and dedication to their education. Currently finishing her undergraduate degree, Kayla displays a commitment to environmental studies as she applies to programs for her Master’s of Planning/Public Health for the Fall of 2017.

Kayla’s aspires to receive her Master’s and PhD in Health Policy in order to conduct groundbreaking research in health disparities and policy and serves as a great example of how her dedication to her education will lead to groundbreaking accessible health research and programming, impacting the future of those around her.

Her determination to study public health and discover further why health disparities exist draws her to continue her education and service her community, acting as an influence to others. She dreams to be the voice of her community, inspiring others to focus on environmental justice and reduce health disparities, which will lead to healthier communities in the future for everyone.

Upon receiving this scholarship, she commented feeling more confident in completing her last year at Spelman, and as a scholar, social justice advocate, and future graduate student, she stated she has finally learned to not doubt her capability to succeed and achieve her dreams.

 

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