Merck announces recipients of `will to win` scholarship for students with Asthma

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Merck today announced recipients of the 2010 Will to Win Scholarship, which recognizes high school seniors with asthma who are pursuing higher education. Ten scholarships of $5,000 each have been awarded to two high school seniors who demonstrated outstanding performance in each of the five scholarship categories: performing arts, visual arts, community service, athletics and science.

'The 2010 Will to Win Scholarship Program extends our commitment to help people with respiratory diseases live fuller lives,' said James Fish, M.D., Global Director of Scientific Affairs, Respiratory. 'We would like to offer our sincerest congratulations to this year's recipients and wish them continued success in this exciting new phase of their lives.'

All ten scholarship recipients demonstrated outstanding performance in their entry category, provided a documented track record of achievement, held a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.5 and earned numerous awards related to their entry category. An independent panel of asthma experts from three national advocacy organizations evaluated many excellent applicant submissions and identified two scholarship recipients per category.

'These students have shown discipline, determination and success in managing their asthma, and these qualities were also evident in the classroom and in their extracurricular activities,' said Mike Tringale, Vice President of External Affairs for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. 'That's why we are proponents of the Will to Win Scholarship - it demonstrates to young asthma sufferers that when the condition is properly managed, there's no reason they can't lead exceptional lives.'

The 2010 scholarship recipients in each category are:

Performing Arts

  • Kaitlin Barbo (Clovis High School, Clovis, Calif.)
    Kaitlin Barbo is pursuing a career as a professional flutist, and she has been the principle flute in multiple musical groups, including her high school wind ensemble and marching band. Although she has battled asthma since she was four years old, Kaitlin challenged herself to play a wind instrument, which can be difficult for an asthma sufferer. She has received numerous honors for her talents, such as being named the principal piccolo for the California Band Directors Association All-State Honor Band and principal flute for the Music for All National Orchestra. Kaitlin is attending the University of North Carolina School of the Arts this fall.
  • Victoria Petry (Corbin High School, Corbin, Ky.)
    Victoria Petry has excelled as a singer and actress, despite being diagnosed with asthma as a young girl. She has performed in numerous musicals and theatrical productions, including the Wizard of Oz, Hello Dolly, A Christmas Carol and As You Like It. In the summer of 2008, Victoria participated in the Governor's School of the Arts for theater. She also enjoys photography, writing poetry, and working for her school newspaper. Victoria plans to pursue an undergraduate degree in performing arts at Stephens College in Columbia, Mo.

Visual Arts

  • Chelsea Ford (Summerville High School, Summerville, S.C.)
    Chelsea Ford, who was diagnosed with asthma at a young age, has a passion for graphic design. From serving as the president of the National Art Honors Society for three years to receiving more than 15 awards for her artistic successes, Chelsea has displayed a dedication to the arts as well as talent as an artist. Chelsea's experiences with asthma have inspired her to pursue a future career as a scientific illustrator after she completes her studies at Savannah College of Art and Design.
  • Vincent Parlatore (The Hill School, Boyertown, Pa.)
    Vincent Parlatore has excelled in many activities despite his childhood struggles with asthma, including becoming an Eagle Scout, which demands intensive wilderness hikes and adventures. According to Vincent, his real passion lies in the arts, and he has showcased this interest by developing a portfolio that examines components of architecture, such as line, color and texture. Vincent intends to pursue a career as an architect in a five-year architectural program at Cornell University.

Community Service

  • David Lightfoot (Rampart High School, Colorado Springs, Colo.)
    David Lightfoot has used his personal struggles with asthma as an inspiration to help other people overcome challenges. He has traveled to Tegicigalpa, Honduras three times, working with the faculty of a school for the deaf to help the students interact with their peers. In 2007, David suggested the school organize a soccer camp to bring together the deaf students and children who can hear. When the school accepted his proposal, David traveled to Honduras to direct the camp himself. The success of this project sparked David's idea to start Heart for the Children, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing basic needs for underprivileged children around the world. David is now attending the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
  • Kendall Crouther (Chantilly High School, Chantilly, Va.)
    Kendall Crouther acknowledges that her asthma has been an obstacle at times, but it's a challenge she is committed to overcome. Kendall recently earned the Girl Scouts' highest honor, the Gold Award, for which she presented a project on reducing the amount of plastic waste in the environment to an audience of 150 students. Through her work with the Girl Scouts, Kendall traveled to Cuernavaca, Mexico, to complete two service projects in 2007. Additionally, she has organized food and clothing drives for the homeless in Washington, D.C. and worked with a national nonprofit organization to distribute these items to those in need. Kendall is attending Elon University in North Carolina to continue her studies.

Athletics

  • Ariel Dempsey (Jenison Public High School, Jenison, Mich.)
    Ariel Dempsey has had asthma since early childhood, often experiencing attacks that led to hospitalizations and missed school days. Despite these obstacles, Ariel was number one in her high school graduating class and broke three school records during her time on her school's track team. In 2007, Ariel won second place in the Division 1 State Championship for 800m and third place in the 3200m relay Indoor Track State Championship. She was also recognized with several leadership awards, including the Board of Education award for 'Making a Difference.' Ariel is now attending the University of Michigan, where she also runs on the track and cross country teams.
  • Callie Nettles (North Cobb High School, Kennesaw, Ga.)
    Callie Nettles has always strived to be a college athlete, but her asthma often made it difficult for the young swimmer. With her personal determination and the support of her swim team, Callie has become a nationally ranked swimmer and one of the top five back-stroke swimmers in the Southeast. She graduated high school as a five-time Parks and Recreation State Champion and seven-time state team qualifier. Callie also was recognized as a USA Swimming Scholastic All-American three times. She now attends the University of Alabama and swims for the Crimson Tide.

Science

  • Angelle Bradford (Woodlawn High School, Baton Rouge, La.)
    Angelle Bradford decided early on that she would not allow asthma to keep her from striving for her goals. Angelle learned how to successfully manage her asthma in high school, and after conquering her own health issues, she used her passion for science to excel in academics and serve as a tutor to her peers. Angelle was recognized as her high school’s salutatorian, and she participated in the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Robotics Competition and Regional Model United Nations Conference. Angelle is attending Louisiana State University where she hopes to work toward her goal of one day becoming a general surgeon.
  • Wynton Kun (LaSalle High School, Pasadena, Calif.)
    Wynton Kun worked diligently with his physician to get his asthma under control, which eventually sparked his interest in science that led to excel in the field. During his junior year of high school, Wynton investigated the frequency and usefulness of chest X-rays taken for pneumonia patients on home mechanical ventilation. He presented the results of his research at the 12th International Conference on Home Mechanical Ventilation in Barcelona, Spain - an honor usually reserved for faculty medical researchers and post-doctoral fellows. Wynton's research was also accepted for presentation at the May 2010 American Thoracic Society International Conference in New Orleans. To further pursue his interest in the medical field, Wynton is attending the University of California, Davis.

You can find out more information about the Will to Win Scholarship Program and this year's recipients by visiting http://www.willtowinscholarship.com/.

About Merck
Today's Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck is known as MSD outside the United States and Canada. Through our prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer care and animal health products, we work with customers and operate in more than 140 countries to deliver innovative health solutions. We also demonstrate our commitment to increasing access to healthcare through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit www.merck.com.

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