SMCF Foundation Scholarship Program

Waitress at Bob’s Big Boy to emergency room physician? All dreams are achievable with persistence. This was the message conveyed to MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center employees who were awarded scholarships toward higher education at Saddleback Medical Center Foundation’s 41st annual Scholarship Awards on July 26, 2018.

In total, the Scholarship Program has distributed $1,093,000 to 618 employees. This year 26 employees received scholarships totaling more than $49,000.

The guest speaker was Barbara Victor, M.D., chair of the Saddleback Medical Center Foundation Board of Directors, and currently an emergency room physician. Dr. Victor humorously detailed her journey from never wanting to step foot in a classroom again after high school, to being a waitress, to nursing school and discovering her passion — finally to medical school and becoming a doctor.

“I was a nurse in the emergency room showing brand-new doctors how to do their first intubation, and I thought, ‘I could do this,’ ” said Dr. Victor. She continued to medical school at Tufts University and the rest is history.

Many of the scholarship recipients are registered nurses attaining their bachelor’s or master’s degrees, even nurse practitioner degrees. These types of degrees were important for the hospital’s recent designation as a Magnet hospital, which recognizes nursing excellence.

To apply for a scholarship, the employees must be permanent full- or part-time Saddleback Medical Center employees with a minimum of one full year of employment. They must be taking courses for credit at an eligible, accredited educational institution, and must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher. All scholarship winners completed a rigorous application that also required letters of recommendation.

The Foundation’s Scholarship Committee reviewed the applications to determine awardees and amounts.

Awards are named after the donors who have generously gifted funds for this program.

“Our generous scholarship donors believe in the power of education,” said Cecilia Belew, president of Saddleback Medical Center Foundation. “It’s wonderful for them to come to this ceremony and find out the degrees the recipients are pursuing, and their career goals. They get to see firsthand the impact of their investment in our employees’ futures.”

The 2018 Scholarship award recipients are listed below:

Dorothy Colver Award
Chetna Chouhan, R.N.
Cardiovascular Observation Unit/Catheterization Lab

Damsker Award
Nickhat Ahmed, R.N.

Nurses4Nurses Awards
Christine Bisbee, R.N. 
Cardiovascular Observation Unit

Sorina Manga, R.N.
Medical Oncology

Nicole McComb, R.N.
Surgical Orthopedics/Neurology

Virginia Pillsbury Award
Lorie D’Amore, R.N.
Hospice & Palliative Services

Rabinov Awards
Diana Chavez
Breast Center

Louhuni Talavou
Central Scheduling

Saddleback Kiwanis Awards
Kristin Dougherty, R.N.
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Vanthu Nancy Leykauf
Catheterization Lab

Tina Marie Stewart, R.N.
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

San Clemente Women’s Guild Awards
Patricia Mendoza, R.N.
Post-Anesthesia Care Unit/Gastrointestinal Lab

Sara Mowry, R.N.
Surgical Orthopedics/Neurology

Scholarship Endowment Awards
Shiva Batchu, R.N.
Quality Assurance

Amber Christensen, R.N.
Surgical Orthopedics/Neurology

Nicole Curtis, R.N.
Surgical Orthopedics/Neurology

Tam Do, R.N.
Quality Assurance

Shellie Graves, R.N.
Post-Anesthesia Care Unit

Crystal Kim, R.N.
Cardiovascular Observation Unit

Denise Lane, R.N.
Observation Care

Jesus Mendoza, R.N.
Medical Oncology

Shirley Mesman, R.N.
Emergency Services

Elena Misaico
Surgical Orthopedics/Neurology

Renee Selby, R.N.

Johnnie Vance Award
Jordana Spangler, R.N.

Jerry Werner Award
Aliona Telechi, R.N.
Intensive Care Unit

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