The first year of Roots to STEM is in the books! Thank you so much to everyone who donated to our recent graduates. We were faced with the difficult decision of giving the scholarship to one recipient or splitting it up between several. To help aid our decision, we fielded a question to our applicants asking them whether they would prefer to share the scholarship or not. To our surprise, all of our finalists said they would prefer to share. We are proud to announce the first three Roots to STEM scholarship recipients from the class of 2019!

We were so lucky to have these exemplary young women as applicants. In addition to being STEM majors, all of them have one thing in common…they are selfless. These are types of individuals that will shape our region’s future. We are so excited to see their careers blossom in the coming years. With any luck, this is just the beginning for Roots to STEM. Again, a big thanks to everyone that helped make this first year a successful one. Stay tuned for the next wave of STEM scholarships in 2020!!!

Christa Greatorex-Potter will be the Roots to STEM recipient of a $1,000 scholarship. A graduate of Lebanon High School in Russell County, VA, she has completed dual-enrollment STEM courses and participated in extra-curricular activities including the Model General Assembly and Scholastic Bowl. Christa plans to attend Virginia Tech where she will major in biochemistry. Her ultimate goal is to become an OB-GYN, offering her services to women of our local community who are at-risk for being unable to afford healthcare.

Hely Patel, also of Virginia High School, will receive a $500 scholarship and plans to pursue a career in neuroscience and behavioral biology. Hely stood out to us based on her volunteer work with local hospitals, the ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation, and local homeless shelters. Her dedication to her family, faith, and community is apparent in a quote she credits to her father. “Helping, in any form, is a deed from the heart, with no expectations of receiving something in return.” Her impending career will no doubt have a positive effect on all those she meets. Hely’s ultimate goal is to become a doctor where she plans to advance medical treatments for chronic illnesses.

Martha Blaser of Virginia High School in Bristol, VA, will receive a $500 scholarship. Martha already has a jump start on her STEM education by taking dual-enrollment courses through Virginia Highlands Community College, engaging in volunteer work at the Bristol Regional Medical Center, and participating in numerous extra-curricular activities including the School Health Advisory Board. She plans to attend ETSU in the fall where she will pursue a career in the health sciences. Upon graduating, Martha plans on staying in the tri-cities area, using her talents to help combat opioid abuse in our region.