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Congratulations to our Fall 2021 Parkinson Scholars

Named for Loyola University Chicago alumni Robert (“Bob”) and Betty Parkinson, the Robert and Betty Parkinson Social Justice Scholars Award honors their commitment to helping ensure access to quality health care and the recognition that health care is a basic human right. The Parkinson Scholars represent a group of exceptionally talented students from the school’s Applied Health Sciences, Healthcare Administration, and Public Health Sciences departments. They are students who are dedicated to being “persons for others” and plan to use their Parkinson education to improve the health and health care of individuals, communities, and systems.  

Health is the right of every individual and should not be based on factors such as socioeconomic status, race, and gender. As a Parkinson Scholar, my mission is to receive the best education to help me eliminate health inequities that exist in the world.”  

Laura Vargas, Master of Public Health, Class of 2023

Each Scholar receives a $8,000 tuition-restricted scholarship and additional funds to support scholarly activity. With this scholarship, recipients will have the opportunity to expand their social justice leadership skills through community service, scholarly activity, and mentorship of future Parkinson Scholars.  

Thank you to the Parkinson Award Committee for selecting this outstanding group. The committee included faculty and staff members: Jenna Donovan, Lucia Garcia, Judy Rose James, Hyejoo Kang, Talar Markossian, Kristin Pesavento, Dave Sanders, Trish Sheean, and Stephanie Wilson.


Learn more about our Parkinson Scholars

2021 Parkinson Scholar, Sophia Barnard

Sophia Barnard

BS in Healthcare Administration, Class of 2022

“I am humbled and honored to be selected alongside so many amazing students for this incredible opportunity. I can't wait to further my knowledge and advocacy skills as I complete my undergraduate studies, bringing the Jesuit principles of social justice and being a person for others into my future endeavors.”

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2021 Parkinson Scholar, Tierra Crone

Tierra Crone

MS in Dietetics, Class of 2023

“I strive to make an impact that improves the lives of others, which is why being a Parkinson Scholar is important to me.”

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2021 Parkinson Scholar, Abby Doyle

Abby Doyle

BS in Public Health, Class of 2023

"I want to pursue a career in community health working with marginalized communities. While finishing my undergrad, I want to get involved with organizations that are focused at the community level implementing programs."

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2021 Parkinson Scholar, Amy Espinoza

Amy Espinosa

MS in Healthcare Administration, Class of 2023

“I was born in Chicago and left the United States to live in Ecuador when I was 13 years old. This transition in my life, granted me the opportunity to experience a new culture and reflect upon the fact that many societies do not have access to basic healthcare...I can greatly influence the community by expanding my knowledge on healthcare and integrating ethics and social justice into the management of health service organizations.”

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2021 Parkinson Scholar, Karen Gomez

Karen Gomez

BS in Public Health, Class of 2022

“To be a Parkinson Scholar means that I am an agent of change, with resources to take Loyola’s Jesuit ideals one step further and promote social justice and health equity to communities in need.”

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2021 Parkinson Scholar, Jonathan Hernan

Jonathan Hernandez

MS in Medical Laboratory Science, Class of 2023

“As a Mexican American, I can empathetically communicate with minorities about social inequities and promote public health values. Open conversations can incite positive changes that will lead to better communities for everyone. As a Parkinson Scholar, I strive to lead the positive change I want to see in our communities.”

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2021 Parkinson Scholar, Katherine Kearns

Kathy Kearns (BSN '02)

Master of Public Health, Class of 2024

“Loyola taught me how to be an exceptional nurse, but just as important, how to recognize my patient's emotional and spiritual needs. Working in obstetrics is my favorite area of medicine, and I hope to use my MPH degree to improve the racial disparities in maternal and neonatal outcomes.”

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2021 Parkinson Scholar, Bridget Kunkel

Bridget Kunkel

Dietetics MS/DI program, Class of 2023

"As a Parkinson scholar, I am presented with an opportunity to be a catalyst for change in light of social inequities, specifically within the healthcare community. I feel passionately about utilizing healthcare to make an impactful difference in people's lives, and I am excited to work with a cohort with similar values."

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2021 Parkinson Scholar Avatar

Rukayat Raji

Master of Public Health, Class of 2022

“This scholarship is an amazing opportunity and a huge honor for me, it brings me one step closer to achieving my goals. I look forward to learning from the rest of the scholars and contributing my knowledge to the fight for social justice. I am excited to use my resources and new resources gained to help improve health in marginalized communities.”

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2021 Parkinson Scholar Avatar

Laura Vargas

Master of Public Health, Class of 2023

“Health is the right of every individual and should not be based on factors such as socioeconomic status, race, and gender. As a Parkinson Scholar, my mission is to receive the best education to help me eliminate health inequities that exist in the world.”

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2021 Parkinson Scholar, Cyndi Williams

Cydni Williams

MS in Exercise Science, Class of 2023

“To be a Parkinson Scholar means providing the knowledge that I have gained over the years to the community and implementing new ideas that contribute to its overall improvement.”

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Want to become a Parkinson Scholar? Learn more about the requirements and application process.