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Fresno State Students Serve Locals with Help from CalViva Health Scholarships
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By News
Published 1 week ago on
July 10, 2024

CalViva Health scholarships are helping Fresno State health care students balance their work-life responsibilities and start their careers. (Fresno State)

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Dominique Perry knew from a young age she wanted to become a nurse. “I grew up watching multiple TV shows surrounding individuals in the health care setting,” she said. “These people were smart, respected and made a great impact on the patients placed in their care. I wanted to make those same lasting impacts.”

The first in her family to go to college, Perry earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Fresno State in 2021. She completed a year of service at Fresno VA Medical Center and is now working at Community Regional Medical Center, the only Level 1 trauma center between Sacramento and Los Angeles.

“I’ve gained invaluable knowledge working in the trauma intensive care unit. A typical work week includes providing care for two critically ill patients [and patients intubated with invasive hemodynamic monitoring devices],” Perry said. “My role is to monitor [them] while collaborating with other parts of the health care team, such as doctors, respiratory therapists and various imaging services.”

Perry was able to achieve her career goals, in part, thanks to the CalViva Health Scholarship she received while a student at Fresno State. The scholarship gave Perry the freedom to take time away from work to study for her exams.

“As a single mother who worked full-time, balancing work along with school was difficult,” she said. “I recall late nights and early mornings all too often. That extended vacation allowed me to move forward to the next step of my career. I am very grateful to the CalViva donors.”

CalViva Started Fresno State Partnership in 2019

CalViva Health is a locally managed health care plan dedicated to improving access to quality care in Fresno, Kings and Madera counties. CalViva Health established a partnership with Fresno State in 2019 through a $100,000 gift to support student scholarships.

CalViva Health has given $100,000 in support of student scholarships every year since, totaling $500,000 as of the 2023-24 academic year. The scholarship has impacted 100 students receiving degrees in the health care field, including many students who stayed to serve patients in the Valley after graduating.

“It meant the world to me to be a recipient of this scholarship.”

DANIELLE PINON, PSYCHOLOGY MAJOR, FRESNO STATE

The philanthropic support directly uplifts the Central Valley. Over 5,500 Fresno State students major in health care-related studies each year, making up over 20% of Fresno State’s student population.

Perry, one of the first students to receive the CalViva Health Scholarship, is one of about 4,000 nurses to have graduated from the university’s undergraduate nursing program. About 90% of those graduates have stayed in the Valley.

To be eligible for the CalViva Health scholarship, students must be enrolled full-time, qualify for state and federal financial aid, maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher, and have a major within the health care field.

There were 20 students who received CalViva Health scholarships in the 2023-24 academic year.

Scholarship Makes a Difference for Students

Danielle Pinon, a junior majoring in psychology, is one of this year’s CalViva Health Scholarship recipients. She plans to pursue a career as a marriage and family therapist, specializing in family trauma.

“It meant the world to me to be a recipient of this scholarship,” Pinon said. “It helped [support me], and also my son, this year.”

Jeff Nkansah, CEO of CalViva Health, said, “CalViva Health developed the scholarship program with Fresno State as part of our commitment to improving access to quality health care in the Central Valley. By investing in the education of future health care professionals, we aim to address the critical shortage of skilled workers in our local community. We believe that by supporting students like Dominique Perry and Danielle Pinon, we are not only investing in their futures but also in the health and vitality of the Central Valley.”

With CalViva’s generous gift of $100,000 for the 2024-25 academic year, 20 more students will have the opportunity to pursue their education without financial constraints. This scholarship support not only benefits the recipients directly but also contributes to the broader community by helping to cultivate the next generation of healthcare professionals.

To learn more about supporting student success at Fresno State, contact Katie Bewarder at (559) 278-5768 or katieadamo@csufresno.edu.

This year’s CalViva Health Scholarship recipients with Fresno State officials. (Fresno State)

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