Three allied health students receive Schermerhorn Award
UT Southwestern Allied Health Sciences School has announced that three students -- Jennifer Jeffrey of physical therapy, Barbara Mark of clinical nutrition, and Erin Nulf of physician assistant studies -- have been named winners of the Schermerhorn Scholarship Award for 2005.
The award has been given for the past 18 years to students at the allied health school in recognition of their academic excellence, leadership and volunteer work. It is named in honor of Dr. John Schermerhorn, the allied health school dean from 1971 to 1986.
Each student receives $350, an engraved paperweight and a floral arrangement. The names of this year's winners will be added to a plaque of past award winners.
"Dr. John Schermerhorn guided UT Southwestern Allied Health Sciences School through its period of greatest growth in size and academic programs," said Dr. Gordon Green, dean of the allied health school. "Since his retirement, he and Mrs. Schermerhorn have continued to encourage and to support out school, and our students, through the scholarship which bears his name."
"This year's three Schermerhorn Scholarship winners carry that strong legacy of learning forward," Green said, adding, "I'm confident that it will reverberate well into the future."
Ms. Jeffrey, who will soon begin her second year at UT Southwestern, said her long-term goal is to teach at a university level in a master's program. She wants to pursue a Ph.D. in international health and hopes to work overseas to gain experience after she leaves UT Southwestern. A graduate of UT Austin in kinesiology, Ms. Jeffrey's research project is examining neuroplasticity in spinal-cord injury patients.
The Lufkin native's volunteer efforts include working with UT Southwestern's Science Teacher Access to Resources at Southwestern (STARS) program, as well as a working in a voter registration drive at the allied health sciences school for the last presidential election.
Considering the "amazing group of students" in her program, Ms. Jeffrey said she feels especially honored by the Schermerhorn Award.
Dr. Mark thinks clinical nutrition is a "good match" for her interests and the fact that she "enjoys working with people."
She came to the clinical nutrition program with a Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology from The University of Texas at Dallas. She chose the program because she is particularly interested in the clinical applications of nutrition.
A possible future avenue for Dr. Mark is in the emerging field of nutrigenomics, which would entail assessing a person's genetic profile and relating those results to optimum nutrition. The could help someone maintain a healthy lifestyle despite risk factors for diseases such as diabetes.
Her volunteer activities have included working with a program for low-income families and with Meals on Wheels.
Dr. Mark credited the clinical dietetics faculty with making an important contribution to students' education and called the Schermerhorns' award very motivating and a great honor.
Ms. Nulf entered UT Southwestern's physician assistant studies program because the PA profession complements her desire to practice "healing" -- providing aid through medical care -- that she experienced through her community involvement.
The second-year student, who calls Spokane, Wash., home, said she liked the atmosphere of UT Southwestern as soon as she saw it and described the physician assistant program as having a "good balance" between academic excellence while "not overshadowing" students' individual strengths.
Ms. Nulf's volunteer activities have focused on sexual-assault recovery. Following work with a program in Washington, she has worked with Friends of the Family in Denton County. She also is a member of the Assembly of Representatives for the American Association of Physician Assistants.