This year, the ARC/STSA Board of Directors awarded $6,000 in scholarships to 10 students and one educator. Hear from recipients about their paths to success, what the scholarship means to them and their plans for future professional development.

Amy Burr, North Central Texas College, Gainesville, Texas
“This is by far the most amazing [and] eye-opening career that exists. By utilizing all I have learned in the perioperative environment and continuing my education, I will get the experience needed to gain a better understanding of every aspect of surgery,” Amy said. “I plan to work long-term in the logistical side of surgery in an operational resources department. Finding ways to cut costs and protect patients is a challenge every perioperative environment faces, and one I find interesting and compelling.”

“This award has been such an encouragement. It shows me that hard work does pay off, and I plan to continue applying for other scholarships,” she said.

April Donn, Dixie State University, St. George, Utah
“As a mom to six awesome kids, I’m excited to begin my career as a surgical technologist and show my kids that even beginning a second career in your 40’s can be done!” April remarked.

“My goal of completing school and becoming a surgical technologist has been met and now I can’t wait to work and continue learning. I had no idea when I began this program how much I would love it.”


Shereece Dove, Carolinas College of Health Sciences, Charlotte, North Carolina
Shereece Dove is currently enrolled in the Surgical Technology program at Carolinas College of Health Sciences. “When I complete the program, I plan to work as a surgical technologist and gain more knowledge in the operating room to prepare for Physician Assistant school,” she said. “My ultimate goal is to become a surgical PA in neurology.”

“Receiving this scholarship is a blessing and an honor,” she said. “It means I can further my career in healthcare without financial stress. The best advice I can give is this: ‘For every question you do not ask, the answer will always be no.’ Always apply for that scholarship, that program, that job because you may surprise yourself!”

DeVetta Hamlet, Concorde Career College, Aurora, Colorado
“During the beginning of my educational journey I was nervous and didn’t think I could make it through, as I worked full-time and went to school full-time,” DeVetta said. “This was a very challenging time in my life. However, I made it through the first term, then the next and the next.”

DeVetta also took time to acknowledge those who have helped her along the way. “My inspiration has come from my children, who have supported and encouraged me, and reminded me to keep my dream of becoming an integral part of the medical industry at the forefront of my mind,” she said.

Rebecca Hernandez, Seward County Community College/Technical School, Liberal, Kansas
Rebecca Hernandez is currently enrolled in the Surgical Technology program at Seward County Community College/Technical School and has her Associate Degree in Science.

“I believe this career choice has a lot to offer; surgical technologists have a variety of jobs in many professions. My interests and goals for surgical technology include specializing in orthopaedic cases, becoming a traveling surgical tech…and working in different fields, such as dentistry and veterinary surgical tech abroad,” she said.

Jade Hollister, Western Dakota Tech, Rapid City, South Dakota; recipient of the Chris Keagan Memorial Educator’s Scholarship
Jade Hollister completed her Surgical Technology Diploma and A.A.S. in Allied Health at Western Dakota Tech in 2010 and is the Program Director of Surgical Technology at Western Dakota Tech. In May of 2018, Jade graduated Cum Laude from the University of Sioux Falls, earning a B.A. in Business. This scholarship, she noted, helped her fulfill her goal of completing this degree.

“Over the past year and a half, I have been a full-time instructor and full-time student. Receiving this scholarship helped ease some of the financial burden of tuition and allowed me to focus on my studies,” Jade said. She plans to apply the budget management, goal setting, and marketing techniques she learned to her current position as program director.

Shannon Kirchesh, Western Dakota Tech, Rapid City, South Dakota
Shannon Kirchesh will graduate from the Surgical Technology Program at Western Dakota Tech in Rapid City, South Dakota, in May 2019. She was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, is a mother to one son, and a new grandma. 

“After working in the casinos for many years, then pursuing massage therapy, I knew something was missing,” she said. “I wanted fulfillment in helping people. I needed a career that came with excitement, challenges and great humanistic rewards with room for advancement. That’s when I knew surgical technology was for me,” Shannon said, noting her goal is to become a Certified Surgical First Assistant.

Nicole Thompson, Concorde Career College, Mission, Kansas
Nicole Thompson looks forward to becoming a surgical technologist, in particular, to experience a variety of surgical procedures and be a “go-to person” for the doctor.

“I can see myself continuing to grow in this field and am excited to explore the many areas in which I can specialize,” Nicole said. “My focus is to make this profession one that will be challenging, fulfilling and rewarding. It is my goal to play a significant role in improving and saving as many lives as I can.”

Candace Town, Baker College, Clinton Township, Michigan
Having worked as a restaurant manager for over a decade, Candace felt something was missing in her professional life. Now, she noted, “I have found a new energy and passion for my career. That missing part of my life is what drove me to pursue my lifelong passion of working in healthcare. I decided on surgical technology because it is exciting…[and] you get to provide hands-on care [and] truly improve or save a patient’s life.”

“My career ambitions include joining/running for a position in the Michigan local chapter of the AST, working as a CST specializing in cardio-thoracic and orthopedic surgeries, possibly becoming a surgical technology educator and furthering my own education into becoming a CSFA and then RNFA,” she said.

Jenna Stringer, Chattahoochee Technical College
Jenna Stringer is approaching her final semester at Chattahoochee Technical College, where she will receive her Associate Degree in Surgical Technology.

“I am so honored to be able to receive this scholarship and to be able to go into my last semester of school with the extra financial support,” Jenna said. “I encourage all students who are worried about the financial burdens of college to research avenues that break down barriers holding them back from a fulfilling career.”

Marie Wolfe, Jefferson College of Health Sciences, Roanoke, Virginia
“It is such a rewarding feeling to be selected for a scholarship, especially from an organization that has a high impact on my chosen profession, a Certified Surgical Technologist,” Marie said.

“These funds will pay off a small but significant portion of my student loans. As a new graduate…it is my honor to represent what this profession has taught me over the last two years,” she reflected. “On Christmas Day, I promised my grandma I would finish my education for her; she passed the very next day. In my heart I know she is proud of who I have become today.”