FSU students selected for 2020 AHEC Scholars Program

Nine Florida State University students in disciplines across campus have been selected to the 2020 cohort of the Florida Area Health and Education Center (AHEC) Scholars Program.

The students, who will work directly with the Big Bend Area Health Education Center, will gain firsthand experience in underserved population settings. Students were chosen from a pool of more than 400 applicants.

“Our program complements and builds upon the student’s traditional health care curriculum and gives them a chance to work together as a team to problem solve prior to graduation,” said Allison Wiman, executive director of Big Bend AHEC.

This two-year program offers students 80 hours of clinical and didactic training while receiving core fundamentals including interprofessional education, behavioral health integration, social determinants of health, cultural competency, practice transformation and current and emerging health issues.

AHEC’s mission is to enhance access to quality health care, particularly primary and preventive care, by improving the supply and distribution of health care professionals via strategic partnerships with academic programs, communities and professional organizations. These efforts support strategic priorities to increase diversity and distribution among health care professionals and enhance health care quality and delivery to rural and underserved areas.

“When health care providers work as a team, patients receive better care,” said Kristen Aguirre, scholar coordinator for AHEC. “We expect great things from this selection of dynamic scholars, and we look forward to working with them.”

For more information about the AHEC Scholars Program, visit https://bigbendahec.com/programs/ahec-scholars/.

Megan Appelbaum

Program of Study: Dietetics student in the Department of Nutrition, Food & Exercise Sciences, STEM in entrepreneurship minor in the Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship
Hometown: Boca Raton, Florida

“The AHEC Scholars Program is an amazing opportunity for students to immerse themselves in a multidisciplinary approach to community health. In this program, I have the opportunity to collaborate with minds from different health disciplines and expose myself to new and innovative ways of thinking.”

Leann Brenneke

Program of Study: Dietetics, Human Sciences
Hometown: Richmond, Indiana

“It is both an honor and incredible opportunity to be selected as an AHEC scholar as this experience will allow me to apply my coursework in the classroom to real-world experiences while engaging with other students from a variety of health care professions.”

Mariann D’Arcangelis

Program of Study: Master of Public Health program, College of Social Sciences and Public Policy
Hometown: Florence, South Carolina

“Big Bend AHEC does remarkable work within the community. This program allows me to learn more about my desired field of health education and network with other students interested in public health.”

Olivia Hitchcock

Program of Study: Criminology and Social Work master’s programs
Hometown: Grove City, Ohio

“For me, the greatest appeal of the AHEC Scholars program is its interdisciplinary nature. I now have the opportunity to work with and learn from students in vastly different fields than my own. As someone aspiring to work in the highly collaborative field of social work, this program offers me the opportunity to begin those partnerships early.”

Sofie Adele Muench

Program of Study: Master of Social Work clinical track, College of Social Work
Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico

“Being diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of eight, as well as facing learning disabilities, I often had trouble with my self-image, felt overwhelmed, insecure, and frustrated with school material. Having the opportunity to meet with caring and sympathetic therapists allowed me to begin believing in myself, which in turn allowed me to adapt to my learning disability. Since experiencing the revolutionary aid a social worker can provide to society, I dedicated myself to engaging in activities that serve members of my community. I chose Florida State University’s College of Social Work because their core values highly resonated with my own and I was also excited to follow the curriculum to gain the necessary knowledge and experience to provide the highest level of support possible.”

Sofia Perez

Program of Study: Dietetics, College of Human Sciences
Hometown: Jensen Beach, Florida

“I applied for the amazing experiential opportunities that this program provides!”

Brandon Rowland

Program of Study: Joint MSW/MPA graduate student, Askew School of Public Administration/College of Social Sciences & Public Policy
Hometown: Waycross, Georgia

“I chose to apply to the AHEC program because there is an overwhelming shortage of medical and mental health professionals in rural southeast Georgia, and other rural areas around the country. Through this program, I hope to learn new interdisciplinary skills and make professional connections that will allow me to bring quality care to rural communities like my hometown.”

Kimberly Watts

Program of Study: Master of Public Health program, College of Social Sciences and Public Policy
Hometown: St. Cloud, Florida

“I wanted to join this program to work with others who are just as passionate about improving the health of our community.”

Amy Zogran

Program of Study: Dietetics, College of Human Sciences
Hometown: Orlando, Florida

“Breakthrough innovation occurs when we bring down boundaries and encourage disciplines to learn from each other.”