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Briana Blackwelder Equal Access Scholarship Fund

Briana

MCU believes that all individuals who seek midwifery education should be able to access it.  Unfortunately, too often, this is not a reality, and midwifery education, along with the midwifery profession at-large, suffers without diverse communities and representation.  We want to continue to be the change we wish to see in the midwifery community; therefore, we have created an initiative to advance social justice, anti-racism, anti-oppression and equity efforts within our college and the midwifery profession at large.

Briana Blackwelder is an MCU graduate and friend of MCU who left this earth at the tender age of 28.  Listen and learn from Briana as she shares her own philosophy about womanhood and birth. In honor of Briana’s wisdom and personal philosophy, MCU offers two scholarships that provide complete tuition relief: 1) Social Justice and Health Equity Scholarship; and 2) Equal Access Scholarship.  With these scholarships, MCU strives to advance our goals by ensuring inclusive representation and support of diverse social identities and locations in midwifery education, including racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic, and religious backgrounds.

Recipients of the scholarships will receive three semesters of tuition relief (i.e. tuition waivers) per year with the option for continuation of the scholarship, based upon continued eligibility, for up to four years of tuition relief. These scholarships are designed to provide complete tuition relief for obtainment of the BSM degree, but may alternatively be applied toward progression in the MSM program.  Members of the MCU faculty, staff, and board are ineligible for consideration for MCU scholarships.

Eligibility Criteria for the Equal Access Scholarship

To be eligible for this award, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Identify as a student of color and/or member of another underrepresented community in midwifery (e.g., LGBTQ).
  • Be actively involved in the birth community prior to admission to MCU and/or during tenure at MCU (for example, as a lactation consultant, birth or postpartum doula, childbirth educator, midwife assistant or another role as an advocate for women and children);
  • Plan to become a Certified Professional Midwife or otherwise engage the midwifery profession;
  • Demonstrate financial need; and
  • Be accepted and intend to enroll, or be currently enrolled, in either the ASM or BSM degree program at MCU prior to tuition relief. Prospective applicants are encouraged to apply for this scholarship award concurrent with their admissions application. Current students may apply for this scholarship award at any time during their program at MCU.

Application Process

The Equal Access Scholarship strives to advance MCU’s goals of increasing the diversity and inclusivity of midwifery education and the profession at-large. The scholarship is awarded once per calendar year; we will accept applications for the scholarship beginning in January of each calendar year through July 1st. All applicants will be notified of scholarship selection by the middle of August.  To apply for the Equal Access Scholarship Fund, please submit the following in a collated packet (pdf only) via email to office@midwifery.edu. The subject line should read “Equal Access Scholarship”. Please call the MCU office (801-649-5230) to confirm that your application has been received.

The collated application packet should include the following:

  • Cover page that clearly lists out the student’s name, address, email, and phone number;
  • A two to three page single-spaced personal statement prepared by the student describing:
    • How the student meets each of the above eligibility criteria, paying special attention to identification as a student of color or member of another underrepresented community in midwifery
  • The importance of diversity in midwifery education and practice
  • What the student believes it takes to succeed as a midwifery student
  • Student’s professional goals post-graduation, as they relate to midwifery and maternal-child health
  • Any barriers the student faces in pursuing a midwifery education that the student would like the Scholarship Committee to take under consideration;
  • Two letters of recommendation describing the student’s demonstrated potential for success in higher education and the midwifery profession;
  • Current resume or Curriculum Vitae for the student;
  • One page (maximum) statement of financial need, describing, in a narrative style, financial need as it relates to pursuit of midwifery education, as well as any other information the student would like Scholarship Committee to take under consideration in demonstrating financial need; and
  • For currently enrolled students, GPA and program progress will be evaluated as part of your application. If you feel that there are extenuating circumstances that have impacted your GPA and/or program progress to-date, please discuss this as part of your statement.

Evaluation Criteria and Selection Process

The MCU Scholarship Committee reviews all applications to determine the best overall applicants meeting award eligibility criteria.  Specifically, scholarship applications will be reviewed, and scholarship selection awarded, based on the following evaluation criteria:

  • Student of color or member of another underrepresented community in midwifery;
  • Demonstrated potential for success in midwifery education;
  • Career objectives, especially as they relate to diversity in the midwifery profession and maternity care;
  • Demonstrated financial need; and
  • Involvement in the birth profession.

Continuation of Scholarship

Recipients of the Equal Access Scholarship may apply for continuation of scholarship funding for up to four total years of scholarship support. Continuation of the scholarship is awarded on a year-by-year basis, and scholarship recipients are required to re-apply for an additional year of funding annually. To be eligible for continuation, students must have:

  • Completed 75% of the courses on their Major Map during each scholarship year;
  • Maintained a GPA of 2.5 or above;
  • Submitted a re-application packet (see below) no later than July 15th; and
  • Completed the annual final report by the specified deadline.

To apply for a continuation of the scholarship, please submit the following in a collated packet via email to office@midwifery.edu. The subject line should read “Equal Access Scholarship – Re-Application” The collated packet (pdf only) should include:

  • An updated statement of financial need, no more than one page single-spaced;
  • A 2 – 3 page,single-spaced reflection paper describing what the scholarship has meant for the student in terms of educational access and achievement, and why the student is applying for an additional year of funding; and
  • An updated resume or Curriculum Vitae.

Final Reports

Upon the final year of funding, a final report is due as a condition of the scholarship award. The final report should be submitted no later than December 15th of the final year in which support is expected. The report should be submitted as a collated (pdf only) packet via email to office@midwifery.edu. The subject line should read “Equal Access Scholarship – Final Report”

The final report packet should include:

  • A 2 -3 page, single-spaced essay detailing and reflecting upon:
    • The student’s experiences (academic, clinical, professional) at MCU;
  • How their education is preparing them  for their post-graduation plans in midwifery and maternal-child health; and
  • What the scholarship has meant for the student in terms of educational access and achievement.
  • Students are invited, though not required, in this essay to share their suggestions for areas of improvement at MCU, including, but not limited to, the curriculum (i.e., courses), student support services (i.e., House Mothers), personnel (i.e., faculty, staff, administrators), and administrative services (i.e., financial aid). Specifically, we invite suggestions on how MCU could further include and meet the needs of a diverse clientele base in midwifery practice, suggestions for increasing a climate of inclusivity at MCU, and/or barriers identified for students of color or other underrepresented students as well as resources that could be made available to better support a diverse student body.
  • An updated resume or Curriculum Vitae

Eligibility Criteria for the Social Justice and Health Equity Scholarship

To be eligible for this award, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be actively involved in the birth community prior to admission to MCU and/or during tenure at MCU (for example, as a lactation consultant, birth or postpartum doula, childbirth educator, midwife assistant or another role as an advocate for women and children);
  • Demonstrate financial need;
  • Demonstrate experience in advancing social justice and health equity within midwifery and maternal health realms;
  • Articulate a vision for how they are going to help advance health equity and social justice in midwifery upon graduation; and
  • Be accepted and intend to enroll, or be currently enrolled, in either the ASM or BSM degree program at MCU prior to tuition relief. Prospective applicants are encouraged to apply for this scholarship award concurrent with their admissions application. Current students may apply for this scholarship award at any time during their program at MCU.
  • Students of color are especially encouraged to apply for this fund.

Application Process

The Social Justice and Health Equity Scholarship strives to advance MCU’s goals of advancing social justice and health equity in midwifery education and the profession-at-large. This scholarship is for those who have experience in, and dedication towards, advancing social justice and health equity within midwifery and maternal-child health realms. The scholarship is awarded once per calendar year; we will accept applications for the scholarship beginning in January of each calendar year through July 1st. All applicants will be notified of scholarship selection by the middle of August.  To apply for the Social Justice and Health Equity Scholarship Fund, please submit the following in a collated packet (pdf only) via email to office@midwifery.edu. The subject line should read “Equal Access Scholarship”. Please call the MCU office (801-649-5230) to confirm that your application has been received.

The collated application packet should include the following:

  • Cover page that clearly lists out the student’s name, address, email, and phone number;
  • A two to three page single-spaced personal statement prepared by the student describing:
    • How the student meets each of the above eligibility criteria, paying special attention to social justice and equity work;
    • What the student believes it takes to succeed as a midwifery student;
    • Student’s professional goals post-graduation, as they relate to midwifery and maternal-child health;
    • Any barriers the student faces in pursuing a midwifery education that the student would like the Scholarship Committee to take into consideration.
  • Two letters of reference describing the student’s demonstrated potential for success in higher education and as a future practicing midwife;
  • Current resume or Curriculum Vitae for the student;
  • One page (maximum) statement of financial need, including:
    • Describe, in a narrative style, financial need as it relates to pursuit of midwifery education, as well as any other information the student would like Scholarship Committee to take under consideration in demonstrating financial need; and
  • For currently enrolled students, GPA and program progress will be evaluated as part of your application. If you feel that there are extenuating circumstances that have impacted your GPA and/or program progress to-date, please discuss this as part of your statement.

Evaluation Criteria and Selection Process

The MCU Scholarship Committee reviews all applications to determine the best overall applicants meeting award eligibility criteria.  Specifically, scholarship applications will be reviewed, and scholarship selection awarded, based on the following evaluation criteria:

  • Demonstrated activities in advancing social justice and health equity within midwifery and maternal-child health realms; and
  • Demonstrated potential for success in midwifery education.
  • Professional goals, especially as they relate to health equity and social justice in the midwifery profession and maternity care
  • Racial or ethnic identification (student of color)
  • Demonstrated financial need; and
  • Involvement in community service, especially as it to social justice and health equity.

Continuation of Scholarship

Recipients of the Social Justice & Health Equity Scholarship may apply for continuation of scholarship funding for up to four total years of scholarship support. Continuation of the scholarship is awarded on a year-by-year basis, and scholarship recipients are required to re-apply for an additional year of funding annually. To be eligible for continuation, students must have:

  • Completed 75% of the courses on their Major Map during each scholarship year;
  • Maintained a GPA of 2.5 or above;
  • Submitted a re-application packet (see below) no later than July 15th; and
  • Completed the annual final report by the specified deadline.

To apply for a continuation of the scholarship, please submit the following in a collated packet via email to office@midwifery.edu. The subject line should read “Social Justice & Health Equity Scholarship – Re-Application” The collated packet (pdf only) should include:

  • An updated statement of financial need, no more than one page single-spaced;
  • A 2 – 3 page, single-spaced reflection paper describing what the scholarship has meant for the student in terms of educational access and achievement  contribution to ongoing social justice movements within midwifery and maternal health, and why the student is applying for an additional year of funding; and
  • An updated resume or Curriculum Vitae.

Final Reports

Upon the final year of funding, a final report is due as a condition of the scholarship award. The final report should be submitted no later than December 15th of the final year in which support is expected.  The report should be submitted as a collated (pdf) packet via email to office@midwifery.edu. The subject line should read “Social Justice & Health Equity Scholarship – Final Report”

The final report should pack should include:

  • 2 -3 page, single-spaced essay detailing and reflecting upon:
    • The student’s experiences (academic, clinical, professional)at MCU;
    • How their education is preparing them  for post-graduation plans, especially as it relates to social justice and health equity advancements;  What the scholarship has meant for the student in terms of educational access and achievement; and
  • An updated resume or Curriculum Vitae.
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