MTSU student receives $10K diversity scholar award from BlueCross

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MTSU student Ciara Taylor of Chattanooga, Tenn., stirs chemicals she is preparing in an MTSU Science Building research lab. (Photo by Sergio Plecas)

Ciara Taylor wants to assist doctors and nurses by working in a laboratory, providing diagnostic test results in her future career contribution to patient care.

An MTSU senior and single mother of two children, Taylor, 23, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, was one of three recipients of $10,000 scholarships by BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation Aug. 1, allowing her to further her education.

The diversity scholarship program was launched to help address the growing need for a qualified and more inclusive workforce to deliver health care in Tennessee.

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The scholarships were presented in partnership with the Memphis chapter of the National Association of Health Services Executives and recognize achievements in academics, community service and leadership.

"I have always loved science with a passion, but never wanted to limit myself to just one area," Taylor said.

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Taylor said the scholarship award will offer "a lot of help. It makes you want to continue on. It's very hard (to pay for college) and hard to find financial aid."

Her scholarship application included two letters of recommendation and an approximately 500-word essay about how to help BlueCross BlueShield and the health care field work together to save lives and help people.

The 2010 Hixson High School graduate pursues medical technology in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences at MTSU. She has been a part of a 3+1 program (three years at MTSU, one year at a partner university) and remains hopeful the partner school portion will be realized.

Taylor, who lives in Murfreesboro, works as a server in one of the Marriott Renaissance Nashville Hotel's dining establishments and as a pharmacy tech at Walgreens near MTSU.

Assisting Taylor with Glory, 4, and Scarlettte, 3, are her parents, April and Jerome Taylor of Chattanooga.

Memphis residents Andrea Murrell, a University of Tennessee-Martin nursing student, and Myah Mukes, a UT-Chattanooga nursing student, were the other recipients.

All three were announced during a presentation ceremony at BlueCross corporate headquarters in Chattanooga.

Through its health foundation and community trust, BlueCross has invested $105,000 in Diversity Scholarships since 2013, awarding three each year.

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