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WMHS Foundation Supports CRNP Students with Scholarship Opportunity

June 8th, 2022 by WCBC Radio

The WMHS Foundation has announced that applications are now being accepted for the Sophia E. Powell Nursing Scholarship, supporting those pursuing an advanced degree as a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner (CRNP).  Applications are due by 5:00 pm on July 1, 2022. Established this year by Bob Powell in honor of his Aunt Sophie, the fund will pay $20,000 to one qualified applicant – $10,000 each for the fall 2022 and spring 2023 semesters.

Powell met with the Foundation and UPMC Western Maryland administrators to determine an effective way to support the hospital after his aunt received exemplary care there, following a bad fall. As a pharmacist himself, Powell has worked in hospitals with patients, in pharmaceutical research, and with the FDA. He created the Nurse Practitioner scholarship to honor those who helped heal his aunt. 

“This scholarship is intended to enable nurses to progress on their career path, increasing their impact on their neighbors’ health,” said Powell, “In my mind investing in UPMC Western Maryland staff will lead to a healthier, more productive community.” As the demand for health care increases for Western Maryland patients, he explained, the scope of nursing responsibilities continues to evolve, from executing orders to creating disease diagnoses and treatment plans. The scholarship will equip candidates to keep up with a growing demand for their specialized services, he said.

During Sophie’s two-week hospitalization in the Comprehensive Inpatient Rehab Unit, she received compassionate, professional care from nurses, nurse practitioners, physical therapists, occupational therapists, physicians, and pharmacists. The comprehensive team had her up and walking again, and today she is living independently.

“I remember one of my therapists telling me to exercise and just keep pushing, over and above the regular therapy,” Sophie said. “Give it all you got is what she kept telling me! Don’t stop! I did just that because I knew I had family and friends encouraging me and giving me a reason to get better and get back to living.” The rehab staff get all the credit in the world for getting her back on her feet, Sophie says.

That’s important for a woman who has been strong and independent all of her life. Sophie was born and raised in Cumberland, Maryland. She graduated from Allegany High School in 1942 and pursued a lifelong, successful career in local banking. Her six nieces and nephews and many friends enjoy her sharp wit, and wise, understated advice. At 97 years old, her memory and energy are a testament to daily exercise and a vibrant love for others. This scholarship was given in gratitude for those who skillfully cared for Sophie, with the hope that other talented nurses will pursue advanced training and someday provide life-changing, transformational care, just as Sophie received.

To be eligible, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) and be accepted into an accredited CRNP program. Nurses working for UPMC Western Maryland are preferred, but not required.
  • Attend school as a full-time student (minimum 12 credit hours/semester).
  • Upon graduation, agree to work at UPMC Western Maryland for one year for each year of scholarship received. The selected candidate will be awarded a scholarship of up to $10,000 ($20k total) in the fall of 2022 and spring of 2023.
  • Complete the application and return it to: by 5 pm on July 1, 2022 or by mail to 12400 Willowbrook Road, Cumberland, MD 21502. 

Contact Lisa Hout in the Foundation office, at for more information and an application or search 2022 Scholarship Program at, and click on the link.

The WMHS Foundation supports the work, mission, and values of UPMC Western Maryland through fund development, ambassadorship, and public relations. Primary support of the organization is directed to equipment and technology, scholarships, capital projects, and patients in need.