Abigail Corbett, a Master of Health Administration student at the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health says receiving the Ken and Cindy Stella Scholarship will allow her to say ‘yes’ to exciting opportunities as an MHA student. Abigail has a love for healthcare that was instilled by her parents, Deb and Larry Corbett, who both have health careers. Deb is a nurse in interventional radiology with IU Health, and Larry is a recently-retired physician of 40 years.
Abigail’s parents played a huge role in her life, always encouraging her to pursue higher education and teaching her what it means to care for others and for patients. Having an appreciation for clinical careers, Abigail completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and served as a medical scribe in the Emergency Department at Community Hospital South for two years.
“Originally, I thought I wanted to pursue a Master’s Degree in Physician Assistant Studies,” she said. “However, working in the emergency department caused my outlook on healthcare to dramatically change, and I became interested in the operation of hospitals and how departments and employees are affected by those operations.”
Abigail decided to pursue an MHA degree at the Fairbanks School of Public Health with a desire to learn the processes behind preventative healthcare, employee relations, strategic planning, and budgeting practices. The summer prior to starting her courses, Abigail was notified by MHA program director, Dr. Ann Johnston, that she had been nominated as a candidate for the Ken and Cindy Stella Scholarship based on her GPA and review of her MHA application.
“I was incredibly grateful and excited for the chance to apply,” she said. “Currently, I am working, going to school, and planning a wedding. This scholarship would allow me to take full advantage of my education and provide me with significant financial flexibility to attend national conferences and become an active member of healthcare administration associations.”
The Stella Scholarship is awarded to full-time MHA students with a GPA of 3.0 or better, and provides $10,000 per year for two years. Earlier this fall, Abigail received the Stella Scholarship and has big plans for her tenure as a graduate student.
“With this scholarship, I will have the ability to devote more time to my studies, pursue opportunities for growth, and spend my full energy on personal leadership development,” she said. “I wanted to have the ability to give my all to the MHA program and receive all that it is able to offer. The Stella Scholarship has given me the ability to do that, and so much more.”
Pursuing this degree has not been without its struggles for Abigail. In fact, she admits that there were many obstacles for her to overcome before reaching this moment. Persistence, however, has been the key to her success.
“I had to take two additional classes as prerequisites before I could start the program, not to mention the financial and time commitment of the program itself,” said Abigail, whose long-term goal is to earn a graduate degree and work toward a leadership position in human resources at a healthcare institution.
“The thing that has helped me the most is to picture my future, write out my goals, and continually remind myself what a blessing it is that I get to do this. As cliché as it sounds, I know it will be worth it.”
Abigail is also thankful for her fiancé, Kilian Sweet, who encouraged her to return to school for a master’s degree. She believes she may not have pursued the MHA program had he not been “so on board and reassuring.” To celebrate Abigail receiving the scholarship, the couple enjoyed dinner at BoomBozz pizza.
“It was really fun to celebrate with him. We aren’t a super wild pair, but we were both really excited and it felt good to celebrate, even if it was in a small way.”