Once again I ask, where will our future rural health leaders come from? And once again we have found one future rural health leader, this time in the state of New York. Her name is Emma Dening, and Emma is this year’s recipient of the Rural Health Leadership Radio Juanita Bartholomew Scholarship. The Juanita Bartholomew Scholarship was established to assist high school graduates who want to continue their education in a healthcare field with the goal of working in Rural America.
“Leadership is having the courage to speak against the most common opinion.”
Growing up in a county with more cows than people, Emma saw the epidemic facing rural youth, especially the population of young girls. Not COVID, rather losing confidence in themselves because of the expectations of their surroundings, many youth in her area surrendered their potential to the opinions of those around them.
Throughout high school, Emma captained her Varsity Basketball and Softball teams, lead her Cleats for Athletes program that provided in-need student-athletes with free sports equipment, co-coached several youth girls basketball teams, began a tutoring program and started a program connecting young athletes to their varsity teams, in hopes of inspiring the youth to take control of their own futures and be their own greatest activists.
This fall, she will be entering Le Moyne College’s 5-year Physician Assistant program, granting her a Master’s in Biology and her PA license. Initially, Emma committed to St. Lawrence University to further her basketball career with the intent of entering medical school before deciding a career as a PA better suited her desired lifestyle.