Allied Health Thanks Donors Who Make a Difference

Fergerson (second from left), a mother of four and stepmother of two, is currently studying speech-language pathology thanks in part to a scholarship.

Fergerson (second from left), a mother of four and stepmother of two, is currently studying speech-language pathology thanks in part to a scholarship.

The School of Allied Health Sciences recently hosted a luncheon to recognize donors who have given to student scholarships, research, educational programs and faculty development.

Allied health sciences professionals, including physical therapists, athletic trainers, occupational therapists, speech therapists and audiology experts, support and increase the efficiency of nursing and medical teams. There are more than 5 million allied health sciences professionals in the U.S., and more than 200 allied health sciences careers.

This year, the School of Allied Health Sciences will award more than $160,000 in student scholarships funded by private donors.

“I just want to say thank you to anyone who donates to any scholarship fund,” said Tracy Fergerson, a mother four and stepmother of two who is pursuing her master’s in speech-language pathology. “It is so helpful to students and many times we will never even meet the people who give us the money or decide that we should receive it, but I hope they know that they are truly making a difference.”

Fergerson, who is originally from Oklahoma, but has lived in Lubbock for about five years, was inspired to pursue an allied health career after watching her twin boys work with therapists for most of their lives.

Fergerson said if she hadn’t received a scholarship, she probably wouldn’t have been able to reach her goal of helping other parents and special-needs children by becoming a professional in the field of medical speech-language pathology.

“We are a fairly large family living on a single income while I am in school pursuing this degree,” Fergerson said. “A large part of the fees have been paid with financial aid loans, which have to be paid back after I graduate. Scholarships are a huge blessing because every little bit is just a little that we don't have to worry about paying back. It helps take some of the financial stress off.”

Hatmaker, a student in the Master of Athletic Training program, came to TTUHSC because of the scholarship she received.

Hatmaker (front, right), a student in the Master of Athletic Training program, came to TTUHSC because of the scholarship she received.

Tennessee native and athlete Jennifer Hatmaker said without the generous support of donors, she would not have had the opportunity to attend one of the best Master of Athletic Training programs in the country.

“I am here at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center solely because of the scholarship I received,” Hatmaker said. “I cannot imagine having gained the experiences and the education both clinically and as an individual anywhere but here at TTUHSC. To know that I am being educated and trained by such a credible program in my field gives me great confidence that I will become the educated and well-prepared athletic trainer that I dream of becoming.”

Hatmaker said her motivation to eventually work in a clinic as an athletic trainer assisting an orthopedic surgeon, and participating in a high school outreach program, also comes from personal experience.

“Going through rehabilitation, I learned a little about the healing process of injuries,” Hatmaker said. “On top of my love for the anatomy and physiology of the human body, I love sports. I love being around driven individuals at all levels, be it a professional women’s basketball player rehabbing an injured knee for the upcoming WNBA season, or a junior [high school] football player.”

Just as Hatmaker dreams of helping athletes step back on the court or field to do what they love, she credits donors with allowing her to blossom into the medical professional she has dreamt of becoming.

“Every moment here has been an adventure,” Hatmaker said. “I have been challenged in ways I never could imagine. And so much of the opportunity and learning I have been able to do here in Lubbock are in huge part, because of those who donate funds for scholarships. [Donors’] willingness to make sacrifices for students who are working toward their dreams of bettering this world one patient or one athlete at a time have provided us the opportunity to be the best we can be.”

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