ROCKVILLE, Md. – Three Kaiser Permanente Scholars will be among 35 Hispanic college students honored at the 15th Annual Hispanic College Fund Scholarship Awards Gala on October 17, 2008, at the J.W. Marriott in Washington, DC. The Kaiser Scholars Program provides scholarships for high-achieving Hispanic students aspiring to careers in health care in the Mid-Atlantic region.
The three KP scholars to be feted at the Gala are Mauricio Ayala, a freshman at the University of Virginia majoring in nursing and pre-med; Anna Rios Smith, a nursing student at Samuel Merritt College in Oakland, Calif.; and Ruben Munoz, a pre-med student at Elizabethtown College in Lancaster County, Pa. Mr. Ayala has the added honor of being selected from among all 600 students who received scholarships in 2008 from the Hispanic College Fund to present the student keynote address at the Gala; he will be introduced at the event by Virginia Governor Tim Kaine.
In announcing Mr. Ayala’s selection as the keynoter, the Hispanic College Fund cited his “passion to give back to the community [that] is apparent in all his academic and extracurricular endeavors.” In addition to the honor of providing the keynote address, Mr.Ayala will be participating in Hispanic Young Professionals, a highly competitive leadership development program held in Washington, D.C., preceding the gala.
“It is extremely rewarding to see these talented and committed KP scholars receive this recognition” said Marilyn Kawamura, president of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc. Noting their role as role models for aspiring Latino students in high school and middle school, Ms. Kawamura added, “Mauricio, Anna, and Ruben have bright futures ahead as dedicated and caring professionals in the next generation of health care providers. Kaiser Permanente views the scholarship funding we provide them as a valuable investment in the future health of our community, in particular for the large and growing number of Latinos in our area.”
Mr. Ayala, who emigrated from El Salvador six years ago and graduated last June from Dominion High School in Sterling, Virginia, received notice of his designation as a KP Scholar two weeks before beginning his freshman year at Charlottesville, and called the financial assistance it provided “a big relief for me.” He described the KP Scholars Program as “a wonderful way to encourage young people to work towards their future and to celebrate their accomplishments.” His keynote address will focus on the need for young people to combine passion and responsibility in choosing their goals and a career path.
The Kaiser Permanente Scholars Program began in 2006, and has provided $80,000 in financial assistance to 19 students to date. Recipients are selected based on merit and need. Along with other corporate supporters of the Hispanic College Fund, Kaiser Permanente is co-sponsoring Friday evening’s gala.
Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States
Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States is a total health organization serving approximately 500,000 people in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC. Kaiser Permanente is composed of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc., and the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group, P.C., an independent medical group that features more than 900 physicians who provide or arrange care for patients throughout the area. Visit kp.org for more information.