Schermerhorn Award honors three
Three Southwestern Allied Health Sciences School students - Lori Daniels of rehabilitation counseling, Melissa Prasatik of physician assistant studies and Jonathan Stoddard of physical therapy - received the Schermerhorn Scholarship Award for their academic excellence, leadership and volunteer work.
The award has been given annually for 17 years and is named for Dr. John Schermerhorn, who served as the allied health dean from 1971 to 1986.
"The Schermerhorn Scholarship Award is a fitting way to acknowledge the many contributions made by Dr. and Mrs. (Lois) Schermer horn in the building of this school in its greatest period of development," Dr. Gordon Green, dean of the allied health school, said. "It also serves to recognize the promise of three out standing students, who represent the future leadership within the allied health professions."
Each student received a $350 cash award, an engraved paperweight and a decorative plant. Their names also will be added to a plaque commemorating the award winners; there have been 51 recipients since the first awards were given in 1988.
Ms. Daniels, who has maintained a 4.0 grade-point average, works part time in University Rehabilitation Services and hopes to continue there after graduation in August.
Her volunteer efforts have included work at a hospice and the AIDS Resource Center in Dallas. Currently, she volunteers for the Senior Citizens of Greater Dallas as an advocate for senior issues. It was her volunteer work with these and similar programs that sparked Ms. Daniels' recent career change to her new field.
"I worked as a legal secretary for 20 years and during that time volunteered to help the disabled and terminally ill," she said. "I loved my volunteer work, and rehabilitation counseling sounded like a program that would allow me to expand my skills for what I was already doing and allow me to pursue this passion full time."
Ms. Daniels' hobbies include tennis, golf and yoga.
Mrs. Prasatik, who recently finished her first year in the physician assistant studies program with a 4.0 grade-point average, is eagerly looking forward to graduation next December so she can begin practicing - probably in a dermatology clinic.
"I have always been interested in the medical field, but I wanted to try to find something that would let me balance family and work," she said. "The physician assistant profession will allow me to do just that."
Mrs. Prasatik's volunteer work includes participation in the Health Professions Recruitment and Exposure Program, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Student National Medical Association and the United Latin American Medical Students.
Her hobbies include basketball - especially the Dallas Mavericks - and reading.
Mr. Stoddard recently finished his first year in the physical therapy program with a 3.94 grade-point average. He hopes to work as a physical therapist with orthopaedic patients in an outpatient clinic.
"I lived in the Philippines as a missionary for two years and that's when I knew I wanted to work with people - not behind a desk all day," he said, adding that he fell in love with the physical therapy profession when he returned to Bedford and went to work as a physical therapy technician.
Mr. Stoddard's volunteer efforts include work with Special Olympics, the Boy Scouts of America and a local food bank. He teaches Sunday school at his church and enjoys spending free time with his wife, Milina.
He is also a class officer and a North Texas District representative to the American Physical Therapy Association.
Media contact: Staishy Bostick Siem