The Fall 2018 class of Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) Scholars includes students from all over the region, in various stages of life with one common goal – to make a difference in healthcare throughout Appalachia. Twice a year, students from across the region are invited to apply for the ARH Scholars program. Recipients are awarded a $5,000 academic scholarship to pursue a degree in healthcare.
Cheyna McCoy is excited to be the only high school student named a Fall 2018 ARH Scholar. As a senior at Leslie County High School she is extremely involved in school taking AP and college credit classes and running track. In her free time Cheyna loves to read, listen to music and explore the beautiful hiking trails around her hometown of Hyden, Kentucky.
She says she has always had a passion for caring for and being there for others in a time of need. This passion is what originally sparked her interest in the medical field. After graduation in May 2019, Cheyna plans to attend the University of the Cumberlands to study Psychology. Like many other ARH Scholars, Cheyna is excited to use her skills to give back to the community she calls home.
“I was compelled to take this path from living in a community that struggles with drug abuse,” she says. “It’s my dream to contribute in my community’s solution to this problem. I believe studying psychology will give me a better understanding of people in order to reach this goal.”
Throughout her life, and as she enters her college career, Cheyna says her family have served as her biggest mentors. She wouldn’t be in the position she is today without their constant love and support.
“They have always encouraged me to be the best I can be and pushed me to beat my limits,” she says.
She has already started flexing her healthcare muscles by volunteering with a local nursing home where she spends time with residents, talking and singing with them. She even takes the time to send the residents cards for special occasions and holidays.
She was very excited after learning she had been named a Fall 2018 ARH Scholar via an email from ARH Scholars Program Coordinator, Danya Anderson.
“I felt an overwhelming happiness and ran into my mom and dad’s room to tell them the news,” Cheyna says. “I woke up the next morning to my best friend FaceTiming me, congratulating me and saying they saw the news on Facebook.”
“The scholars are selected by the ARH Scholars Judging Committee,” says Danya Anderson. “Once I receive the applications, I prepare them to be sent to the committee by making them a ‘blind’ application, which makes it fair for each applicant. The Scholars award is paid in two installments of $2,500 directly to the school. One is payable after verification and the other is paid the following year. For this round, we had 73 applicants with 10 finalists awarded.”
Cheyna is excited to continue making an impact in her local community through her work. After graduating from the University of the Cumberlands she hopes to begin working as a clinical psychologist and work her way up to Psychiatrist. Through this work she will help patients by identifying, treating and preventing mental disorders and issues.
“I hope to help the people of Appalachia fight for better lives that they deserve,” she says.