STEM scholarships help out Northwell dependents

Motivational speaker: (Left to right) Northwell Health CEO Michael Dowling talks it out with scholarship winners Micaela Harmon and Solomon Richards.

From the Two Birds One Stone File comes Northwell Health, which is helping out its employees – and bolstering its own future – with a new scholarship program.

The New Hyde Park-based health system has awarded the first educational stipends through its STEM Scholarships program, designed to assist college-bound dependents of Northwell Health employees – primarily, future collegians pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and math disciplines.

The $7,500 individual scholarships are meant to ease the financial burden of Northwell Health employees sending youngsters off to college. And by focusing on STEM and other healthcare-related fields of study, they stand a good chance of ultimately benefiting the health system, already New York State’s largest by number of patients and number of providers.

“We’re committed to creating a community asset that is providing financial support and educational opportunities for people who want to advance,” noted Northwell Health President and CEO Michael Dowling. “And if they’re successful and graduate, we would love to bring them into our organization.”

To qualify for the STEM Scholarship program, dependents of Northwell Health employees had to be high school seniors and accepted into a SUNY, CUNY or community college in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut.

Michael Dowling: Doorman.

The students, who completed rigorous online applications, also had to commit to pursuing STEM- and/or healthcare-related studies. A total of five scholarship winners were announced for the program’s first year.

Among them were matriculated Nassau Community College freshman Ivy Fernandez of Carle Place, who’s following in the footsteps of her mother, North Shore University Hospital oncology nurse Priscilla Fernandez; and Ryan Costanza of Levittown, the son of marketing and outreach relations specialist Kathleen Costanza of Northwell Imaging, who will be studying education at The College of New Jersey.

Also snagging $7,500 awards were Solomon Richards of Valley Stream, son of Southside Hospital Blood Bank Supervisor Deborah Phillips; Aiden O’Sullivan of West Babylon, son of Oncology Nurse Liaison Lynn O’Sullivan of NSUH; and Micaela Harmon of Jamaica, daughter of Long Island Jewish Medical Center Anesthesia Technologist Leron Harmon and Northwell Health hematology and oncology research nurse Janice Harmon.

While the scholarships are relatively small, their financial impact is only part of their power, according to Dowling.

“It’s a financial help, but also it’s motivational as well,” the CEO said. “It provides a broader perspective about life and the opportunities that exist.

“When you open a door for somebody and help them walk through it, it’s amazing when they get to the other side.”