St. Luke Hospital and Auxiliary awarded $1,000 scholarships Thursday to two college students who said their dreams of medical careers trace back to experiences they had as high schoolers at the hospital.
Bryanna Svoboda of Ramona and Isaac Baldwin of Marion received the awards at the Auxiliary’s annual scholarship luncheon at St. Luke. Svoboda plans to be a physical therapist, while Baldwin wants to be a doctor.
As a Centre High School sophomore, Svoboda tore a knee ligament during a basketball game. She did rehabilitation at St. Luke’s physical therapy department and in the process discovered a career goal.
“At that point I had not thought of what I wanted to be,” Svoboda said.
Svoboda said working with physical therapist Sheryl Simmonds and physical therapy assistant Shawna Winter rehabilitated her attitude as well as her knee.
“When I tore my ACL I was devastated. I was so scared to go back on the court,” she said. “They made me confident I could be where I was a year before. Those two are the women I want to be like when I become a physical therapist.”
Svoboda said that until attending the luncheon she hadn’t given much thought about where she eventually would like to practice.
“People said, ‘Maybe you should come back here,’” she said. “I had never thought of that before they mentioned it. Coming from a small school like Centre and growing up in Marion County, I think I’d rather be in a smaller town where everybody knows you.”
Svoboda is a pre-physical-therapy major at Allen County Community College in Iola and plans to transfer to Wichita State University.
Baldwin was looking toward a career in biological research before he spent time shadowing St. Luke staff as part of a Marion High School careers class. The experience opened the door to new possibilities.
“It was actually St. Luke that got me thinking about it,” Baldwin said of his decision to become a doctor. “I wouldn’t say I decided there, but it definitely planted a seed.”
Now a student majoring in pre-med at Colorado Christian College, Baldwin eventually wants to combine a regular physician’s practice with doing medical missions. A trip with other students to Puerto Penasco, Mexico a couple of weeks ago reinforced that idea, he said.
The students went door to door asking residents questions about their health and doing examinations, then transmitting the information to a local clinic.
Baldwin said he was grateful for the support he had received from the community.
“Having that support from St. Luke and the people from my hometown confirms for me I’m going in the right direction,” he said. “That they believe in me and are willing to support me financially makes me more confident I can do this hard work.”
Baldwin hopes to attend medical school at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City.
“It’s great to see our staff touch the lives of high school and college students,” St. Luke CEO Jeremy Ensey said.