Written By Vance Chung
On Wednesday, September 26, 2018 American University of Health Sciences (AUHS) presented the inaugural Edna Johnson Memorial Scholarship to students Nafateria Audrey Hunt and Denise Waller. The scholarship, named in honor of university co-founder Pastor Gregory Johnson’s grandmother, celebrates standout students who have demonstrated outstanding academic and personal commitment.
AUHS founders, staff, and faculty surprised the two scholarship recipients during a lecture in which both students were in attendance. During a moving presentation, University Co-Founders Pastor Gregory Johnson and Kim Dang explained the mission and background of the scholarship, and congratulated the two recipients for their dedication.
The scholarship was accompanied by a $2,500 scholarship that will go toward each student’s tuitions and provide much needed financial and personal relief.
Both students accepted their scholarships in front of a packed classroom during one of the university’s busy afternoon class sessions. During moving presentations, both students gave heartfelt remarks on what the scholarships meant to them and how it will help them in their educational journey.
“I work for the VA hospital as an LVN so the scholarship means a lot to me because I’ve been taking a lot of money out and working a lot of overtime to do that. This [scholarship] gives me an opportunity to take a break and I don’t have to work as much for a while. Maybe I’ll take a few weekends off and spend it with my kids” said Denise Waller of Cohort 21. “I’m very grateful for this scholarship. It couldn’t have come at a better time—and it’s my birthday today too so it worked out really great!”
Reflecting on her journey, Denise explained why she is pursuing her degree while working full-time and raising two kids. “I think that a lot of people get into healthcare because of something that happened to them in their life. For me, it was my mother’s death…but you really can’t change too much from the outside. You have to be in the inside. So it really motivated me at my age to come back to school so I can make a difference from the inside out.”
I’m surprised myself that they granted it to me. And I’m forever grateful for it because I really needed it. AUHS is like a little family. Everyone looks out for one another. I’ve never experienced so much love in one area. We’re a family here.Nafateria Audrey Hunt
Nafateria Hunt also commented on the great timing of receiving the scholarship award. “I was actually on the verge of taking a leave of absence for this quarter. I figured why not take a chance and apply to some scholarships? The school was offering one, so I figured you never know” said Nafateria. “I’m surprised myself that they granted it to me. And I’m forever grateful for it because I really needed. AUHS is like a little family. Everyone looks out for one another. I’ve never experienced so much love in one area. We’re a family here.”
Nafateria ended by reflecting on the scholarship’s inception stating “Just as Pastor Johnson said, his grandmother believed in him when no one else did. I can connect in a way where I’ve been down on my luck before or I felt like the odds were stacked up against me when I was trying to achieve something.”
About American University of Health Sciences
AUHS is a Christian based, minority-serving university, which educates students for careers in the healthcare profession. AUHS emphasizes the values of faith in God, love of humankind, and belief that all people have a right to healthcare and deserve a good quality of life based on the wellness of body, mind, and spirit. The university celebrates diversity and reaches out to groups currently underrepresented in healthcare and research. AUHS provides the undergraduate and graduate curriculum, hands-on practical training and supportive environment required to create competent and compassionate healthcare professionals.
American University of Health Sciences is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501, 510.748.9001. For more information visit www.auhs.edu.