Members of the Mercy Folsom Hospital Auxiliary team awarded 11 area high school seniors $1,100 college scholarships each to help them pursue college degrees in medicine or science at its annual board installation and scholarship luncheon March 31.
The event at Serrano Country Club also marked the auxiliary’s 41st year of service to the hospital and the communities it serves. The scholarships are funded by proceeds from the Mercy Folsom Gift Shop. The non-profit’s first scholarship in 1978 was to one recipient for $100. Since then nearly $200,000 in scholarships have been awarded.
Scholarship committee members took turns honoring the scholars, recapping their accomplishments and explaining why the committee chose each one. It was repeatedly evident that each of the recipients’ bright minds rivaled how much they give back to their schools and communities.
Oak Ridge senior Laila Khorasani ranks 20th in her class of 623 students. She is described by the mother of a 6-year-old she babysits as “energetic, smart and compassionate.” Laila will attend either UCLA or USC this fall. She became interested in studying to become a doctor from the experiences she’s had accompanying her father, whom she helps with her mother as a caregiver, to appointments with neurosurgeons. Laila’s list of accomplishments and extracurricular activities is long, but includes acting as president of Model United Nations at Oak Ridge; treasurer of the Biology Olympiad; intern at the UC Davis Mechanical Engineering Department; earned a Certificate of Merit in piano; volunteer at the El Dorado Hills Library. Laila also finds time to play on Oak Ridge’s basketball team.
Eight Folsom High School seniors are scholar recipients as well.
Akash Pathak ranks first in his class of 580 students. He will attend either UC Davis or UC San Diego this fall and plans to pursue a bachelor of science degree in neurobiology, physiology and behavior.
Emily Yang ranks No. 2 in her class. She plays the violin and runs the Math Club at Sutter Middle School. She wants to be either a doctor or research scientist and has been accepted to UC Berkeley, UCLA and Duke.
Chetan Giduturi ranks 7th in his class at Folsom High School. He said he is most proud of his work with the California Scholarship Federation. Chetan serves as the president of CSF at Folsom High School and chairs the recycling committee. The money earned goes straight back to the school’s special education program. He plans to study biochemistry.
Other Folsom High School Mercy Auxiliary scholar recipients include Alexis Campbell, who plans to study hospital administration at either San Diego State University or Cal Poly.
Lauren Bonzel will attend either Boston University or the University of Portland and her career goal is to become a neurologist.
Saniya Mohiuddin is president of the Muslim Student Association and strives to be a cardiovascular surgeon in the future.
Priya Ohara will attend Dominican University and plans to be a nurse.
Preeti Prabhu plans to study biology at UC Davis.
Two Vista del Lago High School students were selected. Prachi Saldhi plans to major in biology and she would like to be a pediatrician. Tanay Nunna plans to attend Brown University and his career goal is in interventional radiology.
Mercy General Auxiliary Coordinator Sister Cornelius O’Connor gave a state-of-the-hospital update. “Mercy Folsom is doing very well. Our quality is up,” she said. The hospital has upgraded the obstetric and surgery units since last year’s luncheon and it now has an open MRI, something patients used to be sent for elsewhere.”
In the midst of a $75 million expansion, which will take four to six more years to complete, Sister Cornelius said hospital administrators are asking big questions, including the state of insurance and the future of healthcare. “(Mercy Folsom) is also looking to open a well-space,” she added. “We want a clinic for the poor.”