By Diana Adams


Brevard Heart Foundation has selected 22 local students and awarded them a combined $20,000 to support their educational journeys toward healthcare and healthcare-related degrees. As part of their mission to support healthcare initiatives and identified community needs, the Foundation recognizes the importance of investing in the past, present, and future students of Brevard County as those students will continue to positively impact countless lives on the Space Coast and beyond.

Over the past year, healthcare has become a topic of conversation and study across the nation. As public awareness and need for healthcare professionals increased, so did student interest in healthcare degrees and certificates here in Brevard, where healthcare is one of the largest industries. That interest was reflected in the numerous applications received as students expressed interest in the eight different scholarship categories offered by the nonprofit organization. Each scholarship category is designed to meet a healthcare need within the county, including nursing and physician assistant categories.

Unlike many other scholarship programs, Brevard Heart Foundation’s scholarship awards are given directly to the awardees rather than their educational institutions. By using this model, recipients have the flexibility to use their scholarship for a variety of costs that can become barriers to the completion of their degree or certificate, including tuition, books, medical equipment, and even childcare. “Many of our healthcare students have a difficult time making ends meet while continuing their education,” shares Travis Proctor, president of Brevard Heart Foundation. “They’re earning certifications and degrees with the desire to serve our communities, and we’re thrilled to be able to come alongside and offer support, so those dreams become a reality. Now, more than ever, our society is realizing how vital it is to invest in the future of healthcare in our community – these students are it.”

This year’s scholarship awardees are as follows:

Medical Transition Scholarship: Rutva Vora; Doctor of Osteopathy Scholarship: Caleigh Ballard, Laura Pyne; Medical Doctor Scholarship: Amanda Rigdon; Doctorate of Nursing Anesthesia Practice: Stephanie Cox; Physician Assistant Scholarship: Olivia Bergau, Leah Lindstrand; Nursing Merit Award: Pearl Ahamed, Melanie Drake, Anna Hinkle, Reece Wilson; Nursing Scholarship Award: Monica Blaue, Synelibeth Garcia Lugo, Mireya Hernandez, Caridad Negron, Kaley Nelson, Shantrell Simpson, A’maris Smith, Bregan Lindsay, Rafael Rengel.

The Foundation also offers two awards in honor of outstanding medical professionals who served Brevard County for years with compassion and resilience: Dr. Jack T. Bechtel, founder of Brevard Heart Foundation in 1957, and Nancy Meisenheimer, an amazing nurse who served the Brevard community for many years. This year, the Dr. Jack T. Bechtel Medical Doctor Award was awarded to Kari Shaver of Mims, and the Nancy Meisenheimer Nursing Award went to Ashley Kelly of Palm Bay.

Along with its annual scholarship program, Brevard Heart Foundation is continuing its support of local healthcare professionals with its Heart of a Hero campaign. The Foundation will also be hosting a healthcare awards event in the Spring of 2022 to recognize amazing healthcare professionals who are making a difference in our local community.

About Brevard Heart Foundation

The mission of the Brevard Heart Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation, is to improve and promote healthcare for Brevard County citizens through programs that target identified community needs. The foundation’s focus is to help ensure the community has quality health care professionals by supporting them through their education. In the last 50 years, Brevard Health Foundation has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in direct scholarship aid to individuals. Donors can be proud knowing that they are not just helping today but instead, are changing the life paths of scholarship recipients and ensuring the local community has access to outstanding care. To learn more, submit a nomination for Heart of a Hero, or to support their mission, please visit

Thank You, Emily Saunders
Content Writer for Rock Paper Simple / for providing us this announcement.