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$10K diversity scholarship will help MTSU senior in medical lab career

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, is one of three recipients of $10,000 scholarships from BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation announced Aug. 1, which will allow her to further her education.

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

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

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

The BCBST Health Foundation presented the scholarship in partnership with the Memphis chapter of the National Association of Health Services Executives to 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, adding that the scholarship 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 a 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 is studying pre-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 said she’s hopeful about fulfilling the partner school portion.

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

Her parents, April and Jerome Taylor of Chattanooga, help Taylor with Glory, 4, and Scarlettte, 3.

Fellow scholarship recipients Andrea Murrell, a University of Tennessee-Martin nursing student, and Myah Mukes, a UT-Chattanooga nursing student, joined Ciara Taylor at the Aug. 1 presentation ceremony at BlueCross corporate headquarters in Chattanooga. Murrell and Mukes are Memphis residents.

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

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

(From left) BlueCross Chief of Staff Calvin Anderson; 2016 diversity scholarship recipients Andrea Murrell, Myah Mukes and Ciara Taylor; and BlueCross CEO JD Hickey are shown during the Aug. 1 presentation at BlueCross corporate headquarters in Chattanooga. (Photo by Sergio Plecas)

MTSU senior Ciara Taylor, second from right, is joined by Calvin Anderson, left, senior vice president and chief of staff for BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee; fellow 2016 diversity scholarship recipients Andrea Murrell and Myah Mukes; and BCBST CEO J.D. Hickey at the Aug. 1 scholarship presentation at BlueCross corporate headquarters in Chattanooga.

MTSU student Ciara Taylor is one of three scholarship recipients receiving $10,000 awards from the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation as outstanding minority college students pursuing degrees in the health care field. (Photo by Sergio Plecas)

MTSU student Ciara Taylor is one of three recipients of $10,000 scholarships from the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation as outstanding minority college students pursuing degrees in the health care field.

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