Physician gives scholarships to Oakwood Southshore Medical Center employees

Ten additional scholarships were handed out to employees of the Oakwood Southshore Medical Center and their dependents this year, thanks to the generosity of one physician.

Dr. Stephen J. Watts and his wife, Carol Lynn Watts, gave $10,000 to the Oakwood Healthcare Foundation to award scholarships in 2011. The funds could be used to cover expenses of advanced, health-related training for employees or their dependents.

“Michigan’s a tough economic climate, there’s just not enough money going around,” said Dr. Watts. “I could see they were struggling to get through college, struggling to get through nursing school.”

Through the generosity of many Oakwood benefactors, the Oakwood Healthcare Foundation offers multiple scholarship opportunities to employees each year, but this particular opportunity offered an additional chance to impact the lives of the employees at OSMC.

“Scholarships like these are so important to Oakwood,” said Edith Hughes, Division President, Downriver Region, Oakwood Healthcare, Inc. (OHI) “Paying for college can be a huge financial burden, and Oakwood’s scholarship program helps to lessen that burden for some of our best and brightest employees. It allows our nurses and other professionals to continue their education and achieve their career aspirations.”

Dr. Watts said his career aspirations were fueled by a family dedicated to giving back.

“My inspiration for becoming a physician was from my grandfather,” said Watts. “He would treat patients for free every Thursday morning. At 8:00 in the morning he’d open up his office and see everybody who came in until they were all gone.”

Dr. Watts enjoys meeting scholarship recipients to see the impact that the scholarship has on their lives.

“When you give out the scholarships to these individuals, when you hand them the check, they’re so grateful,” said Dr. Watts. “The smiles…they come up to you and say, ‘Thank you. This is really going to make a difference in my life. This is going to help me.’ It feels great.”

Consideration for this award was given to full- and part-time Oakwood Southshore Medical Center employees in good standing who have at least one year of employment with Oakwood, who are seeking a health-related certification, associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree or health-related advanced training within the state of Michigan that would enrich the skills of the employee or their dependent. Their dependents are also eligible. All applicants had to submit an application, essay, transcript and two letters of recommendation.

Scholarship recipients included Corrine Carter, Amanda Craig, Eliza Jonuzi, Samantha Lemieux, Mary Miron, Andrew Norwood, Bradley Nowitzke, Lisa Pittman, Rachel Raupp and Ashley Unger. 

From left to right: Juliet Hafford, Director, OSMC Human Resources, Alta Gordon, Director, OSMC Patient Care Services, Amanda Craig, Corrine Carter, Dr. Stephen Watts, Mary Miron, Lisa Pittman, Ashley Unger.