News | April 21, 2021

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Marieb students benefit from Shady Rest Foundation generosity

Care for a burgeoning elderly population is something this country must come to grips with – and quickly.

The Urban Institute reports that by 2030 all baby boomers will be 65 or older and one in 5 people will be retirement age. That means that caregivers for those who are aging will be in greater demand than ever.

photo shows FGCU students
Occupational therapy students take turns practicing their techniques during class. (Pre-pandemic file photo)

Thanks to the Shady Rest Foundation, Florida Gulf Coast University is able to help students interested in the field of geriatrics fund their education through scholarships. The foundation donated $200,000 to the Marieb College of Health & Human Services in the fall, designating five scholarships of $6,500 each for current students majoring in exercise science, public health, nursing and social work and a $3,000 scholarship for nursing.

Twenty additional scholarships were awarded to graduate and doctoral students majoring in occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician assistant studies, nursing and social work. All are to be used for students who plan to work in the field of aging services in some capacity.

The Shady Rest Foundation Board members who presented the gift included President Bob Murray and Vice President Jo Stecher.

Haylea Trotter, a senior nursing student, said, “To me, working with geriatrics means the world. After high school, I got a job at a skilled-nursing facility locally at Lee Memorial (Hospital in Fort Myers). Working with that population really builds up this love of geriatrics and being able to take care of patients like them. I do plan to pursue that after school.”

For Keisha Poleon, who is in the graduate physician assistant studies program, the scholarship is equally meaningful.

“I spent about three years working in geriatrics and learning how the elderly are truly special. They have touched my heart and it did not take long for me to know that I wanted to work in geriatrics. I hope to become the best healthcare professional that I can be to provide the best care possible. Thanks to (the Shady Rest Foundation) contribution, I will be able to do that.”