Carolina focuses on serving those who served in several ways that include offering veterans educational opportunities and scholarships to attend Carolina.
Serving Those Who Served
Jennifer Bidwell, a student in the UNC School of Medicine’s Physician Assistant Studies program, embodies the non-traditional qualities that the program seeks.
After serving five years in the U.S. Navy, earning her master’s degree and working in a graduate lab, Jennifer became an emergency medical technician. Although she enjoyed lab work, her EMT experience ultimately encouraged her to apply to the PA studies program. Receiving the UNC Physician Assistant Scholarship, made possible by Drs. Mary Susan Kirk Fulghum ’67 ’71 (M.D.) and the late James Fulghum III ’71 (M.D.), solidified her decision.
Growing up in Lebo, Kansas, Jennifer witnessed the communal impacts of scarce health care. She believes that accessible health care in rural areas is integral to maintaining communities, and through her training in the military and PA studies program, Jennifer will be equipped to provide such service.
“I’ll be able to do that because I won’t have the burden of student loans that I would have had otherwise. The scholarship was a huge part of my decision to come here.”
Dr. Paul Chelminski ’95 ’03 (M.D., M.P.H.), director of the PA program in the Department of Allied Health Sciences, said the program acts as a continuation of service.
“Opportunity does not time out, and it does not sunset,” Chelminski said. “We must be worthy of the investment that the military has made in Jennifer and other remarkable people who have served.”
Jennifer is one of seven veterans in the PA class of 2020.
A Red, White and Carolina Blue Commitment
North Carolina is home to the nation’s fourth largest contingent of active duty service men and women, many of whom have dependents who want — and deserve an opportunity — to go to college.
Carolina is alleviating the financial burden of students from military families, thanks to a commitment from 1978 alumni Steve and Debbie Vetter of Greensboro, North Carolina. The Vetters — children of veterans themselves — are inspiring the Carolina community to come together and double the impact of their $20 million gift through the Red, White and Carolina Blue Challenge.
Rising to the challenge last February, the General Alumni Association made a $2 million gift in honor of their president, Douglas Dibbert ’70, and his father, Army Lt. Col. Bernard W. Dibbert, who was killed in Vietnam.
Meet a few of the first Vetter Military Family Scholars
– Corinne Light ’20
Corrine, the daughter of a former Navy SEAL and the middle child of five, is a first-generation college student. She plans to follow in her father’s footsteps after dental school and become a dental officer in the Navy.
– Genna Crites ’21
Genna, a first-generation college student whose military connections include both parents, is majoring in information science and plans to earn a master’s degree. She wants to help people find what they need to advance human understanding.
– Barry Frederick ’22
Because of his father’s military service, Barry is exploring all the University has to offer. He is currently a member of the color guard in the Marching Tar Heels and is honing his academic choices — political science or policy, perhaps?