Taylor Thomas, 19, recipient of a 2021 ALA Children of Warriors National Presidents’ Scholarship, always dreamed of entering the field of medicine. She is a graduate of Goodrich High School in Michigan, where she was a standout volleyball player. Thomas’ mother and father are veterans and met while serving in the United States Marine Corps.
By eighth grade, Thomas’ interest in medicine continued to grow, and she knew that pursuing a career in the field was in her future. Additionally, she was a major fan of the television show Grey’s Anatomy, which further sparked her interest in medicine. And then there is her great-uncle, a neurosurgeon, whose conversations about the medical field helped her make a decision by her senior year to pursue a degree as a physician assistant.
Becoming a physician assistant involves a tremendous amount of education. It requires a four-year undergraduate degree and two additional years to earn the physician assistant’s degree. The tuition expense to achieve such a degree is approximately $200,000. Finally, the decision time had come. Thomas selected nearby Wayne State University in Detroit to pursue her undergraduate and master’s degrees.
Knowing the investment required to achieve this degree, Thomas and her family took the initiative to search and apply for scholarships to help offset her educational expenses. With her parents being military veterans, Thomas applied for the American Legion Auxiliary Children of Warriors National Presidents’ Scholarship, with the required letters of support being provided by her high school teachers. In 2021, Thomas, along with 14 other students, were announced as the scholarship recipients being awarded $5,000 each to help with future educational expenses. To further offset her tuition expenses, Wayne State University also awarded her scholarships.
Thomas and her family were thankful and elated to receive this important scholarship from the ALA.
“I feel truly fortunate to be awarded this scholarship among the many applicants,” Thomas said. “The generous funding of this scholarship is especially meaningful to me, considering the additional years of schooling needed for my chosen career.”
In addition to achieving her master’s degree, she is striving to finish school with minimal debt or even be debt-free with the help of scholarships and working her way through school. Being awarded an ALA Children of Warriors National Presidents’ Scholarship certainly provides her with a great start toward accomplishing this goal.
The scholarship will help Thomas to lower the cost of her education and reduce the number of student loans necessary to receive her master’s degree. Otherwise, it would be necessary for her to take out additional student loans and increase the number of work hours to pay for her education.
“I want to express my sincere gratitude to the donors who contributed to this scholarship fund and to the American Legion Auxiliary for making it available to students,” Thomas said. “I am profoundly grateful to the ALA for their commitment to the children of military families and for supporting their educational needs to pursue the careers of their dreams.”
Today, beginning her sophomore year, Thomas focuses on her studies to pursue a degree benefiting the future health of countless others with less worries about the educational debt she will incur. You too can help children of veterans like Thomas and many others pursue higher education and the career of their dreams by donating to ALA scholarships at www.ALAforVeterans.org/Donate.
In the spirit of Service, Not Self, the mission of the American Legion Auxiliary is to support The American Legion and to honor the sacrifice of those who serve by enhancing the lives of our veterans, military, and their families, both at home and abroad. For God and Country, we advocate for veterans, educate our citizens, mentor youth, and promote patriotism, good citizenship, peace and security.