VSU Students Awarded McLane Caregivers Scholarships

| May 23, 2016

VALDOSTA – Two Valdosta State University students — Elyssa Whidby Tompkins and Lucy Butler-Sands — were awarded a 2015-2016 Carson and Philena T. McLane Caregivers Scholarship in the amount of $2,500.

Established by McLane Funeral and Cremation Services in 2011, the Carson and Philena T. McLane Caregivers Scholarships are awarded annually to two full-time VSU students — one pursuing the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program for Second Degree Students in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences and one pursuing a master’s degree in the Department of Social Work — who reside in Lowndes County or a county that is contiguous and have a desire to help others in their career field.

The scholarships were paid in two installments of $1,250 over the course of the Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 semesters. Tompkins and Butler-Sands were required to complete at least 10 hours of community service each semester they received the scholarship.

Elyssa Whidby Tompkins

VSU Elyssa Whidby Tompkins

Tompkins, a 23-year-old senior nursing major, was selected by the faculty in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences for her volunteer work for Breathe Ministry at Heritage Church, including The Great Dance Special Needs Prom, and the Friendship Community Kitchen, all in her hometown of Moultrie.

“I was so excited to receive this scholarship,” said the daughter of Scott and Saundra Whidby. “It was such a blessing to have financial help as I worked towards this second degree.

“I have always believed it is important to help others in whatever way possible. You never know what others are going through, and how you treat them may have a major impact in a good or bad way. In nursing, this is very important because your outlook can affect the way you treat your patients. I always try to have the mindset of treating my patients as if they were one of my family members or loved ones. I ask myself how I would want them treated and cared for and strive to give that type of care.”

Tompkins earned a Bachelor of Science in exercise science from Georgia College in December 2014.

She expects to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in July 2016.

After graduation, Tompkins plans to seek employment in her hometown.

“I hope to find out what areas interest me the most as I start my career as a nurse and gain experience in the field,” she said.

When asked how she plans to continue serving others in her career field, Tompkins said, “I hope I will always treat my patients with compassion and kindness and have a positive impact on their lives.”

She is the wife of Jacob Tompkins.

Lucy Butler-Sands

VSU Lucy Butler-Sands

Butler-Sands, a 25-year-old Miami native, was selected by the faculty in the Department of Social Work for her volunteer work with the Lowndes Associated Ministries to People Inc. (LAMP) New Horizons Homeless Shelter, the Community Soup Kitchen Inc., the South Georgia Coalition for Employment, Paxen Learning Services at the Georgia Department of Labor, and Grace Fellowship Church.

“I am truly grateful to the Carson and Philena T. McLane Caregivers Scholarship Foundation for their generous gift,” said the wife of Evan Butler-Sands. “… I was able to lessen my financial obligations and focus more on my education. It was such an on-time blessing and I can only aspire to help others similarly in the future.

“I believe it is important to help others because we are all interconnected beings and we all have something valuable to give to others that may be able to help them fulfill their purpose. It is especially important in the field of social work for us to help each other because it provides a sense of community, bringing us together as God intended; combating mental health illness increases the knowledge of community citizens; and allowing us to all to be on one accord working efficiently.”

Butler-Sands is a two-time graduate of Valdosta State University. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and anthropology in December 2013 and a Master of Social Work at VSU’s 221st commencement ceremony on May 7.

As a student, she was a member of the National Association for Social Workers, the Social Work Honor Society, and the Dean’s List and the recipient of the James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education and Human Services Louise Stanford Chastain Scholarship.

Butler-Sands plans to obtain her license in the field of social work in order to work on a broader spectrum and reach more individuals with diverse backgrounds who tackle different issues at once.

When asked how she plans to continue serving others in her career field, she said, “I plan on obtaining my license in the field of social work, which will allow me the ability to work on a broader spectrum reaching more individuals of diverse backgrounds tackling different issues at once.”

She said her dream job would be travel the world to feed and mentor less fortunate youth.

On the Web:

http://www.mclanefuneralservices.com/index.shtml

http://www.valdosta.edu/colleges/nursing-and-health-sciences/

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