Midwestern University Announces Diversity Scholarship Recipients

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December 07, 2020 | Midwestern University

Diversity Scholars The MWU Diversity Scholarship recipients are (top row, left to right): Nakia Dean and Joshua Jones, (bottom row, left to right) Courtney Marsh and Dajamen Mitchell.

Midwestern University is pleased to announce the first recipients of the new Diversity Scholarship that provides need-based scholarships for qualified students on both the Downers Grove, Illinois, and Glendale, Arizona campuses.

“Through the generosity of the Response Team and members of the faculty and staff of Midwestern University, we raised more than $80,000 to begin the Midwestern University Diversity Scholarship,” said Kathleen H. Goeppinger, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Midwestern University. “Many wonderful, qualified, and worthy students applied for the new scholarships and we are honored to help support their academic goals.”

The scholarship recipients from the Downers Grove Campus are:

  • Courtney Marsh, a third-year student at the Chicago College of Optometry.
  • Joshua Jones, a first-year clinical psychology student at the College of Health Sciences.

The scholarship recipients from the Glendale Campus are:

  • Dajamen Mitchell, a first-year student at the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine, and 2020 graduate of the Master of Biomedical Science Degree Program on the Downers Grove Campus.
  • Nakia Dean, a first-year cardiovascular science student at the College of Health Sciences.

In her application, Ms. Marsh recalls her early experience working with her family to advocate for early childhood vision screenings. As part of this outreach effort, she helped provide the community with information about the important link between good visual health and educational success. Ms. Marsh is pleased to be able to continue her commitment to service as a student at the Chicago College of Optometry where she is serving as president of her optometry class, president of the Optometry Private Practice Club, president and founder of the Downers Grove Campus chapter of the National Optometric Student Association (NOSA), student ambassador, and member of the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. “This scholarship represents hope for change. I have chosen a field where I am not usually surrounded by people that look like me,” Ms. Marsh said. “I believe opportunities like this will increase applications within the minority community. I hope to one day be an example to others.”

Mr. Jones also spoke of how he hopes to inspire future generations of healthcare professionals. “I am exceptionally thankful for the opportunity to be selected to receive the diversity scholarship. Growing up I have always said I want to become a doctor to help others. Within the field of clinical psychology, only 4 percent are African Americans. Receiving this diversity scholarship means more than receiving financial assistance for me. As an African American male, it is opening that door for me to spark a difference in the healthcare world, through breaking barriers, stigmas, and reducing the disparities,” he said. Prior to attending Midwestern University, Mr. Jones worked in an inpatient care psychiatric hospital as a Mental Health Technician where he witnessed first-hand some of the healthcare disparities patients from minority or underserved backgrounds can face while seeking treatment. “As a future Pediatric Clinical Psychologist, I will advocate for children and families in underserved communities facing mental health issues,” he stated.

Mr. Mitchell has a long history of supporting and launching campus organizations that address diversity and healthcare disparities. As an undergraduate student, he was active in his school’s NAACP chapter, and as a graduate student at Midwestern University, he was a founding member of the Black Student Alliance (BSA) on the Downers Grove Campus and served as the organization’s president. Now, as a first-year medical school student on the Glendale Campus, he has helped to establish a chapter of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA-AZCOM), an organization dedicated to increasing minority representation in medicine and creating socially competent physicians. “Receiving this scholarship not only helps me on my journey to complete medical school, but it is a message that diversifying the medical field is important, and there is help for people like me to pursue their dreams,” he stated. “It is also comforting to know that Midwestern University is committed to aiding minority students in any way possible to accomplish our goals.”

Increasing diversity and inclusion for minority or low-income youth and young adults has been an important part of Ms. Dean’s academic journey, which she is continuing as a student in the Cardiovascular Science Program. She has partnered with programs such as HOPE, a non-profit organization committed to eradicating the high school attrition crisis in Chicago Public Schools, and Deneb STARS, a group the helps students who are the first in their family to attend college or from under-resourced socioeconomic backgrounds succeed in college and beyond. In addition, she has conducted field research to determine the challenges minority students in Chicago’s south side community face when preparing for college. “I am committed to transforming healthcare through expanding access to high-quality care, helping increase the diversity of health professionals, and promoting more aggressive health professional education,” Ms. Dean said. “I’m very grateful and honored to have received the diversity scholarship. It means a lot that Midwestern University encourages and supports advocates of diversity and inclusion in the medical field,” she added.

Students from all Colleges and Programs at Midwestern University are eligible to apply for the scholarships that will be awarded annually. The MWU Diversity Scholarship is part of the University’s 5-Step Plan for Greater Diversity and Inclusion and an addition to the already robust scholarship opportunities available to Midwestern University students.