The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc., (NCHEC) has announced the names of three recipients for the Helen P. Cleary Scholarship for the April 2021 CHES® examination. This award, first instituted in 2019, was designed to assist full-time undergraduate or graduate students with the fees associated with the examination. Applicants for this award were to demonstrate both financial need and a passion for their chosen field of Health Education and Promotion during their academic careers. NCHEC sponsors this scholarship opportunity, offered twice yearly, and the awards process is administered by the Society for Public Health Education, Inc. (SOPHE) Awards Committee.
The names of the April 2021 scholarship recipients are: Andrea Vilorio; Destiny Hayes; and Shannon Fyalkowski.
Andrea Vilorio is a graduate student at Emory University seeking a master’s degree in Public Health within the Department of Behavioral, Social, and Health Education Sciences. Her LatinX background, multilingualism, and extensive experience working with diverse teams has helped her to develop leadership skills in public health, including the ability to motivate and empower others. She has volunteered in the Peace Corps Ethiopia, where she saw firsthand the health needs that exist in rural villages and worked with these communities to create solutions. In addition, she has worked as a COVID-19 contract tracer through the Georgia Department of Public Health, as well as a COVID-19 tester and Crisis Counselor. In regards to the Helen P. Cleary Scholarship, Ms. Vilorio has said, “CHES® certification will help contribute to my passion of providing tools and education to diverse communities. Learning to be part of a community, integrating, and becoming part of the solution occurs from the ground up. Certification will help me in accomplishing that goal.”
Destiny Hayes is an undergraduate student at the University of North Carolina Greensboro and will receive her Bachelors of Science in Public Health Health Education in the spring of 2021. She is the current Vice-president of UNCG’s Eta Sigma Gamma chapter, a national Health Education Honorary. Ms. Hayes’ achievements include attending the 2019 NCSOPHE conference, as well as presenting at UNCG’s Undergraduate Research Expo in April of 2019. According to Ms. Hayes, “I love people and will strive to ensure equality by making resources available to all communities. Because of existing disparities and inequalities within underserved communities, my father lost his life. It is my goal and my passion to alleviate discrepancies and achieve health equity for all through education and advocacy.”
Shannon Fyalkowski is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Public Health at the West Chester University of Pennsylvania. As a graduate research assistant, she has worked on three international qualitative research projects focusing on low-income, high-density populations in Zimbabwe and Uganda. She serves as Program Coordinator with PA Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which includes the management of the Keystone 10 Initiative. In the future, she plans to pursue doctoral work in the intersecting areas of maternal and child health, and mental health. “Programs like Head Start, CHIP, SNAP, and free school breakfasts and lunches enabled my siblings and I to grow up healthy with a feeling of security,” said Ms. Fyalkowsi. “The utilization of health initiatives and education programs has initiated my passion to become a certified health education specialist.”
The Helen P. Cleary Scholarship was launched in March of 2019, in conjunction with NCHEC’s 30th Anniversary celebration, and continues on a bi-annual basis. The next application period for the Helen P. Scholarship will open in May of 2021, for the October 2021 CHES® examination. For more information about the Helen P. Cleary Scholarship, please visit www.nchec.org/scholarships, or www.sophe.org.