Abbi Kroll, a registered nurse for the La Porte Hospital emergency room, loves her job. So much so that she’s working towards a Family Nurse Practitioner Master of Nursing degree at Indiana Wesleyan University.
"I've always had a passion for people and helping them at their worst time," Kroll said. "It's a huge honor to be here tonight."
Kroll was one of 32 scholarship award winners who were recognized by the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte (HFL) and La Porte Hospital Auxiliary on Tuesday evening. Combined, the honored students received a total of $68,500 in assistance for their healthcare-related pursuits.
Once she’s completes her master’s degree, Kroll said she hopes to continue working in La Porte Hospital’s ER.
Plans like those were music to the ears of Maria Fruth, President and CEO of the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte. She hoped that seeing how much the community cares about their future would encourage students to return and build local careers once they’ve graduated.
"It is very inspirational to see incredibly talented young people going towards healthcare careers," Fruth said. "It is wonderful to be able to assist them."
The scholarships are part of the HFL’s stated mission “to empower our residents to live healthy and well in and around La Porte, Indiana.”
Graduating La Porte High School Senior, Chloe Cloutier, was one of the recipients of the La Porte Hospital Auxiliary’s First Year Scholarships. She said she was honored to be recognized with a scholarship because of her volunteer work and internship at the hospital.
"It's just a really big deal for me to be able to represent my community and my school," Cloutier said.
Next year, she’s moving to West Lafayette to start her studies in biochemistry and pre-medicine. She credits her aunt, who sensed Cloutier’s curiosity and aptitude for healthcare, for pushing her to seek out opportunities to get involved.
"I've know for a while that I've wanted to go into the medical field," she said.
Tuesday’s ceremony continued a tradition that started almost 40 years ago, in 1983. Eligible students have lived or worked in the La Porte community and are pursuing further careers in health sciences.
Choosing who will receive the awards can be challenging, said Jane Nelson, Vice-Chairman of the Board of HFL and Chair of the Scholarship Committee.
"We've always been blessed to receive applications from some really remarkable students, so it actually gets very difficult," Nelson said.
Chosen applicants must show a strong dedication to their work and the environment in which they work.
"We look for someone who’s really well rounded and someone that's not only academically applying themselves but [also] really involved [with] their school and giving back to their community," she said.
Next year’s applications for the 2020-2021 academic year will be available online starting in February of next year. For more information, please visit the HFL scholarship website: hflaporte.org/scholarships.