Words do not adequately express our appreciation for The Degen Foundation’s commitment to community and to helping those less fortunate. Jennifer Kistler, Executive Director, states, “The Gregory Kistler Treatment Center is pleased to have been the recipient of grant awards to benefit our families who are uninsured or underinsured and to provide equipment and technology support. We are thankful for The Degen Foundation.”
Introducing Ashlyn Roffine of Fort Smith, AR who received a $2,000 Scholarship to UAFS where she is working to obtain her Associate's Degree of Applied Science in Radiography in May 2024. Later that fall, she will continue classes to obtain a BSIS in Diagnostic Medical Sonography.
On her application, she relayed that her father has been in the healthcare industry for over 30 years and her brother is pursuing a healthcare degree at UAMS – so she always knew she would go into the medical field.
She loves to spend time with her family and to travel. She has a 2-year-old chocolate retriever named “Nesleigh” and loves to take her on walks and play fetch. She describes herself as “organized” which is a wonderful trait!
We cannot wait to see what this young lady will do once she graduates and hope that she remains in the River Valley area.
Sarah Tolbert of Fort Smith, AR has been with the Degen Scholarship program since Fall 2021 while achieving her BS in Communication Sciences and Disorders degree at the University of Arkansas. She is continuing her education at the U of A to achieve her Master’s degree and was awarded a $3,000.00 scholarship for the Fall 2022/Spring 2023 Semesters.
This bright young woman has maintained a 4.0 GPA the whole time. We admire her giving heart, as she stated “once I get settled, I plan to offer my services for free to low-income households. People with lower socioeconomic status do not always have insurance that will cover speech therapy but that does not mean they do not have a need for it. I do not believe that the amount of money you have makes you any more or less deserving.”
Kudos to you, Sarah! We look forward to seeing where you land!
Ryan Hewett of Van Buren, AR is a previous Degen Scholarship winner who received his BSN from the University of AR in December 2021. He received a $3,000.00 scholarship to ASU to pursue his Master of Nursing degree in Nursing Administration at ASU.
Ryan worked at a behavioral health hospital in Fort Smith as a behavioral health tech and as a nursing assistant at a hospital in Northwest Arkansas during his time at the U of A.
“Through clinicals and work it only solidified my desire to help individuals as a nurse.” Most recently, he has been working in the ICU at a level one trauma center for the past two years in North Carolina to gain needed training but is returning home to Arkansas to further his education and get his Master's degree.
We will see him return to the River Valley area and practice his expertise upon graduation! Congratulations, Ryan!
Gabriel "Gabby" Wright
Gabriel “Gabby” Wright of Fort Smith, AR has been a part of the Degen Scholarship program since Fall 2021 and is working towards her Masters in Speech Pathology at the University of Arkansas. She received a $3,000.00 award for the Fall 2022/Spring 2023 semesters.
Gabby worked with a Speech Therapist herself when she was young who helped her overcome the insecurity she felt for not being able to pronounce certain letters. She also shadowed a speech pathologist and “fell more in love with the career than I anticipated.” She would love to work with kids and the elderly and give back to her community, once she completes her education.
We would be incredibly lucky to have this young lady working as a speech pathologist in our area after she graduates!
We are pleased to introduce Perri Efurd of Fort Smith, AR to the Degen Scholarship Program! She received a $3,000.00 scholarship to UCA where she is working on her Masters in Speech Language Pathology.
She relates, “I grew up with friends who received speech therapy so they could better connect with the world, and I saw their confidence shift as they found their voices.” Also, her mother practiced as a speech pathologist for 20 years until illness forced her to step away to focus on recovery.
Watching her mother motivated her to study and learn. And seeing the importance of this field to the people that are closest to her, keeps her intrigued about speech-language pathology and empowers her to learn more each day. We cannot wait for you to graduate, Perri! Welcome to the Degen Scholarship Family.
Hope Ann Harris
Hope Ann Harris of Van Buren, AR, and a previous Degen Scholarship award winner, received a $3,000.00 scholarship to Chamberlain University for the Fall/Spring semesters (8-week courses) as she is working towards her Family Nurse Practitioner specialty degree.
Hope Ann and her husband, Aaron, are both nurses and enjoy working in the same field. She has worked in ER and Med Surg (her favorites) and feels that is the place where she makes a difference. “I enjoy getting up for work every day. There are not many people in their career field that can say that anymore.” Once she graduates, she looks forward and is excited about the opportunity to work in Sebastian County!
We love the fact that she and her husband, plan to stay in our area.
Jamie Garvey of Fort Smith, AR is also a previous Degen Scholarship winner. She attends UAFS and will get her BSN degree this December 2023! She received a $1,500.00 scholarship.
This young lady also is a massage therapist, yoga therapist, and dog groomer. When the pandemic hit, she had to close her yoga studio and her massage therapy business took a bit hit, but it allowed her to reflect on what she really wanted to do, and she came to the decision to become a nurse.
Once she graduates, she would like to spend 1 – 2 years in ICU and then move on to Oncology or become a Hospice nurse; eventually, she plans to become an Advanced Nurse Practitioner and implement holistic nursing into family practice.
How lucky we are to have her in our area! She will be a great nurse!!
Meet Connor Catron of Van Buren, AR - a previous winner of a Degen Scholarship. After graduating from UAFS in 2020, he now attends the University of Missouri School of Dentistry in Kansas City to work on his DDS degree. He received a $3,000.00 scholarship for the F23-S24 semesters. He plans to graduate in Spring 2025.
Connor was able to assist in surgery, sterilize and prepare trays, and help with patient flow while working with Dr. Pierce Osborne of Fayetteville. There he showed his professional conduct and ambition to become a dentist while observing the lasting impressions that dentists have on their patients.
“Getting the chance to observe many different dentists and their specialties, helped solidify my decision to become a dentist. He will hopefully return to the River Valley area to practice. Come on back, Catron! We need you right here!
Introducing Jania Flake of Fort Smith, AR, who received a $3,000.00 F23-S24 scholarship to OSU where she will work on her MS in Athletic Training. Her anticipated graduation date is Spring 2025.
Her passion for the medical field began after sustaining an ACL and meniscus tear for which she received rehab and physical therapy. But it “intensified” after witnessing an athlete and her athletic trainer interact after an injury and she saw the relief on the athlete’s face.
Jania states, “I am a passionate, charismatic, extroverted individual with an optimism about life that drives me to pursue my passions with hope and excitement.” Her excitement is contagious, and we cannot wait to see Jania become a great Athletic Trainer!
The Degen Foundation will support your efforts all the way!