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July 8, 2009 > Washington Hospital's Service League Announces Scholarship Winners

Washington Hospital's Service League Announces Scholarship Winners

To help ensure young students planning on entering the health care field get some extra help as they embark on their studies, the Washington Hospital Service League annually grants Health Career Scholarships in the memory of some of the league's founding members.
Two health career scholarships are awarded to graduating high school seniors and/or college students who reside in Washington Township Health Care District and are pursuing studies in a health-related field. Scholarships are renewable for up to four years. This year an additional two one-time scholarships have been awarded as well.
The recipients of the 2009 Health Career Scholarships are:
Mitra Fazel
Mitra, from Newark Memorial High School, plans to attend De Anza College for two years and then transfer to the University of California, Davis, where she will study to become a pharmacist. She will receive a scholarship in memory of Josephine Walton, a founder and first President of the Washington Hospital Service League.
"I was so excited," Mitra says of finding out she had been selected for the scholarship. "There's so much competition and I didn't know if I was going to get it. My parents were so happy."
Mitra remembers back to second grade of elementary school when her parents talked about how they almost became doctors in Afghanistan before they had to leave the country. Her parents' health care aspirations inspired her, but Mitra says she wanted to make her own choice about her future career.
"Once I did start getting involved in health care and started taking more anatomy and physiology classes, I decided maybe the health field is a good area for me," Mitra says.
There were many factors that helped her decide that she wanted to become a pharmacist.
"My mom has been a big inspiration," she says. "She always said 'I don't want you to do something you don't like.' It's always been nice for her to encourage me to find out what I want to do."
When Mitra was in eighth grade, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, which further inspired Mitra to explore the health care field.
"I'm so glad for technology we have," she says of her mom's treatment. "I want to be able to help someone who's in the same position my mom was. In some ways, I wouldn't be who I am if she didn't have that experience."
In her spare time, Mitra says she loves to dance and has been involved in several cultural productions and spirit week activities at her high school.
Nancy Tran
Nancy, from Mount Eden High School, plans to attend the University of California, Davis, where she will pursue studies to become a general practitioner. She will receive the Katherine Fusco Scholarship. Mrs. Fusco was made an Honorary Member of the Service League in 1996 because she donated her time to the growth of the Gift Shop.
Nancy says she was shocked when she found out she was a recipient of the Service League scholarship because she knew a lot of people deserved to win as well.
"I took physiology during high school and I became interested in the human body," she explains of how she became interested in the health care field.
After exploring her options, Nancy says she sees a bright future in the health-care field.
"I want to open my own medical practice some day," she says. "I want to become a general practitioner because you meet more people and help more people. I want to contribute back to the community."
Nancy says the person she has always looked up to is her older sister, who also attends UC Davis. In her free time, Nancy enjoys playing the piano - she has been playing for 13 years. She also fixes computers, volunteers and participates in leadership activities in school.
Denise Garcia
Denise attends Ohlone College where she is studying to become a registered nurse. Her scholarship from the Service League has been awarded in memory of Janet Pessagno, past board member and daughter of Laura Pessagno, a charter member of the Service League.
Denise, who began volunteering at the hospital last year, says she enjoys the health care environment.
"When I'm at the hospital I just forget about everything else, and I like being there," she says. "I get to see a lot of different things as a volunteer at front desk and doing the newborn photography. You get to experience how the nurses work with the patients and I think it's a good experience."
Denise says she has wanted to work in health care since she was a little girl. Asked where she wants to practice nursing after she becomes a registered nurse, Denise says Washington Hospital, the same hospital where she was born.
Outside of studying and work, Denise enjoys spending time with her cousins and other family members during family get-togethers.
"I would say my mom is my role model because she's always been there for me and strives to give us the best," she says.
Rachel Coutant
Rachel, who graduated from Washington High School, plans to attend Sonoma State University, where she will study kinesiology and compete on the track and field team. She has been awarded the Preston Leslie Scholarship, husband of Hildegard Leslie, an associate member of the Service League.
"I was really happy to receive the scholarship; I was really excited," Rachel says.
After completing an internship at Stanford Children's Hospital, Rachel says she knew she wanted to go into the health care field, so she began researching physical therapy.
"When I injured myself during track and went to physical therapy, I found it really interesting," she says. "I just wanted to help people with their muscles."
Rachel's mom is her role model, she says.
"She's the one who has pushed me through my high school and got me to where I am with my grades and got me hooked up with my internship; I would have never considered the health field if it hadn't been for the internship," she says.
Besides spending time with friends and family, Rachel enjoys photography and takes a lot of nature shots with the new manual photography camera her dad got her.
Learn more!
To learn more about volunteering and scholarship opportunities for adults and students, visit, click on "Giving to WHHS" and select "Volunteer Opportunities."

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