Twice a year, students from across the region are invited to apply for the Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) Scholars program. The ARH Scholars are awarded a $5,000 academic scholarship to pursue a degree in healthcare. Their stories are unique, but a common thread unites every winner: a desire to make a difference to the people of Appalachia through healthcare. The Spring 2019 class of ARH Scholars includes 11 talented future healthcare providers.
Logan Smith, from Barbourville, Kentucky became interested in the medical field in his sophomore year of high school. After sustaining a knee injury and subsequently undergoing a knee surgery, his interest in healthcare was piqued, but it was his time in physical therapy that was truly inspiring to him. He says it was the attentiveness of the physical therapists and assistants that first caught his attention: “I really appreciated how helpful everyone was at that office, and it sparked my interest as a potential career because I like work that’s more hands-on.”
He made sure to ask questions while he was there, and credits that therapist with inspiring him to pursue physical therapy as a profession. “I asked a lot of questions and he really helped me to understand the ins and outs of the job” Logan said. A friend of the family who works as a physical therapy assistant at Middlesboro ARH Hospital also mentored Logan and encouraged his interest in physical therapy. “I asked a lot of questions of him too. We talked about his work and what he liked and didn’t like about it. It was helpful to have people I knew who could honestly talk to me about the pros and cons of the job.”
Logan just finished his freshman year at Southeast Community College in Middlesboro and will graduate with his associate degree next May. He’s planning to transfer to University of Kentucky to finish his Bachelors before going on to obtain his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.
Like so many other students pursuing a degree in healthcare, Logan’s road is long and expensive, and he’s driven to apply for as many scholarships as possible. He was ecstatic to discover the ARH Scholars opportunity, and even more thrilled when he was awarded the scholarship. “I’ve applied to so many scholarships, so to get even one is pretty rewarding,” Logan reflects. “The medical field is one of the most expensive fields to go into when it comes to the schooling. Prices get pretty high when you’re a medical student, so every little bit helps. It’s great for ARH to give back this way.”
ARH gives back through ARH Scholars, because ARH Scholars are driven to give back to their community through their work in the medical field. “Ultimately, I just want to help younger people who are injured, like I was. I feel like I can connect with them, and because I understand the mental process and physical process of healing, I can be there as a mentor. I think I’ll get a sense of gratification from guiding a young person from injury to performing the way that they want to. I can’t wait to see my patients get healthy.”
Click here to read Logan’s Story from Middlesboro Daily News.