SCC student wins National Award | SCC

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News Archive

SCC student wins National Award

Published on Apr 25, 2017

ellen samEllen Sam, a student in the Somerset Community College Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program, has been named the recipient of the American Physical Therapy Association’s (APTA) Minority Scholarship Award for 2017. Sam resides in Lexington. She will receive the award at the APTA NEXT Conference in Boston, Massachusetts in June.

Sam holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Animal Sciences from Rutgers University and a Master of Science Degree in Animal Sciences and Nutrition from the University of Kentucky. She serves as chairperson for the SCC PTA program’s Diversity Initiatives Team and, in this role, coordinated the translation of the program’s curriculum brochure to Spanish. She is also a peer mentor and tutor in anatomy and physiology within the KCTCS system and is an active member of the Kentucky Physical Therapy Association (KPTA).

At SCC, Sam is a member of Phi Theta Kappa International Honorary and the Physical Therapy Student Organization. She is also the recipient of the John T. Smith Scholarship.

Sam is a second-generation American of Chinese descent and a native of New Jersey. She served for more than thirty years as a law enforcement officer and continues to serve her community as a volunteer staff member for the Lexington-Fayette County Division of Emergency Management. She volunteers for a number of meaningful organizations, including the Special Olympics, local animal care and control and served on the Kentucky Animal Control Advisory Board. She also offers canine training and behavioral consultations and plans to attain a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner credential from the University of Tennessee in the future.

Sam will graduate with an Associate of Applied Science Degree from SCC’s PTA Program in May. She plans to work in the Lexington area.

Sam is only the second SCC student to receive the award. Her nomination was supported by PTA Program faculty members Ron Meade and Steve Hammons and by Lieutenant Richard D. Willoby of the Lexington Police Department.

For more information about the SCC PTA Program, contact the director at