Kent State Nursing Seniors Awarded The Howard B. Minott, M.D., and Melodie Morgan-Minott, M.D., Minorities in Healthcare Career Scholarship

The University Hospitals Portage Medical Center (UHPMC) Foundation recently awarded The Howard B. Minott, M.D., and Melodie Morgan-Minott, M.D., Minorities in Healthcare Career Scholarship to Kent State University College of Nursing seniors Chukwuemeka Chukwukere and Ellie Etzwiler. This scholarship is open to any qualified minority resident of Northeast Ohio who is a college student currently enrolled in an accredited health care program in the following fields: Medical Laboratory Technician, Medical Technologist, Radiological Technologist, Registered Nurse or Respiratory Therapist.

“We are delighted to support the next generation of diverse allied health care workers through our named scholarship with the Portage Medical Center Foundation at UH Portage Medical Center. As physicians who have spent our entire lifetimes caring for others, we know how important representation is when accessing and receiving health care services,” said Dr. Howard Minott and Dr. Melodie Morgan-Minott. “We choose to invest in supporting the education of youth of diverse backgrounds because we want patients to see themselves in the health care workers who care for them; and we want youth to believe that they truly can make a difference in the communities and the lives of those they will serve. Believing that we all share responsibility in caring for each other, our scholarship enables us to ensure our legacy of caring for the community and to inspire subsequent generations to do the same.”

In addition to the academic standard and diversity component, The Howard B. Minott, M.D., and Melodie Morgan-Minott, M.D., Minorities in Healthcare Career Scholarship looks for an applicant’s community involvement as well. “For this scholarship, Dr. Howard B. Minott and Dr. Melodie Morgan-Minott wanted to ensure the individuals who received their support were people who are out in the community doing good, educating others and participating as good citizens,” said Shawn Gordon, Director, Development and Executive Director, Foundation at UH. “That element distinguishes this award from the other scholarships our foundation offers.”

Chukwukere was born in Nigeria and relocated with his family to Cleveland, OH, when he was eight years old. Growing up, both of his parents worked as licensed practical nurses, so he was exposed to the profession early on. His desire to attend the same university as his friend brought Chukwukere to Kent State University, where he learned about the College of Nursing’s renowned programs. Chukwukere will graduate with his Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in May 2025, and is considering a career as a travel nurse.

He first learned about The Howard B. Minott, M.D., and Melodie Morgan-Minott, M.D., Minorities in Healthcare Career Scholarship from his UHPMC clinical instructor, Tanya Pigg. She wrote him a glowing recommendation and he submitted his application.

Chukwuemeka Chukwukere with his clinical instructor, Tanya Pigg (left), who first told him about the scholarship opportunity.
Chukwuemeka Chukwukere with clinical instructor, Tanya Pigg.

“When I found out I had been selected, I immediately emailed [Pigg] to share how that moment happened because she first shared that scholarship opportunity with me. She didn't have to pass that information along, but because she did, I will be forever grateful,” said Chukwukere. “She took the time to share what she thought I was capable of, and that has stayed with me. [Pigg] has gone out of her way to tell me she thinks I'm capable of great things, and how this scholarship was just the beginning.”

Chukwukere is most appreciative of the ways this scholarship is assisting him in completing his studies. “School is not cheap. It can be very draining,” he said. “This has definitely helped to alleviate some of that financial burden.”

When he is not in class or clinicals, Chukwukere is working to help support his family.

“Both of my parents are also in school to earn their degrees. My mom recently had to take on less hours at work because her accelerated program was becoming more demanding of her time and attention. I understood how stressful it was for her going back to school while raising a family, so I picked up a side job to help provide for my family,” said Chukwukere, who also works as an RA on the Kent Campus. “I have had to sacrifice time with my friends and work to stay ahead on my assignments and studying, but it has been worth it.” 

The Howard B. Minott, M.D., and Melodie Morgan-Minott, M.D., Minorities in Healthcare Career Scholarship is a one-time award, but recipients can reapply for additional funds each year until graduation.

“It means everything to the UH Foundation to have these two doctors supporting a scholarship investing in the next generation of healthcare providers. The essence of this scholarship is about representation, serving and being present in your community. Those components are a huge part of Howard B. Minott and Melodie Morgan-Minott’s legacy,” said Gordon. When the doctors met the recipients for a luncheon, they shared how patients will come from all different kinds of situations and that providers need to meet them where they are so they can provide adequate care. That is why their investment into this scholarship is so important. It allows their legacy of compassion, care and representation to be passed on to the next generation of healthcare providers in our local community.”   

POSTED: Wednesday, October 18, 2023 10:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday, October 24, 2023 03:28 PM
Mariah Gibbons