Seneca Diabetes Foundation announces 2010 scholarship winners

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The Seneca Diabetes Foundation has awarded more than $50,000 to its 2010 scholarship winners. SDF Chairman and Founder Barry E. Snyder Sr. honored the recipients July 29 at a ceremony at Romanello’s Restaurant. The scholarship program was established in 2007.

With diabetes affecting approximately 50 percent of the adult Seneca population, the foundation is leading the effort to research and combat this disease on the Seneca Nation territories. A portion of the money raised supports students wishing to enter the health/service/medical profession through yearly scholarships.

“Each year we receive more applications from Seneca students who are showing promise and leadership in their academic studies,” Snyder said. “We can only hope and encourage all of our scholarship recipients to give back the knowledge they have learned to help us combat the harmful effects of diabetes and maybe one day find a cure.”

The five scholarships awarded to the eight winners this year are designed so the student’s specific strength or experience would be most effectively conveyed in the scholarship. Each student must be enrolled in a medical or health services-related undergraduate or graduate program, and must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA.

• Keith Kettle, William Jones, Ashley Szcepaniec and Emily Olson were awarded the Barry and Deanna Snyder Sr. Chairman’s Scholarship, which awards $10,000 over two years with a focus on students who have experience in leadership positions.

• Lesley Farrell was awarded the Treasurer’s Scholarship; this awards $5,000 annually to a student who has demonstrated situations where he or she has played an integral role in a teamwork setting.

• Alexander Jimerson was awarded the Seneca Gaming Corporation Scholarship, which awards $2,500 annually to a student who has a commitment to community service and volunteerism.

• Lafayette Williams was awarded the Geraldine Memmo Scholarship; for students who have shown an interest in Seneca and/or Native American History. Williams was awarded a $2,500 scholarship for demonstrating knowledge about the Seneca’s rich and diverse heritage.

• Lana Kota was awarded the Ruth Goode Nursing Scholarship; Kota will get $2,500 to pursue her degree in nursing as she exemplifies the qualities that Ruth Goode did in her career.

In 2004, Snyder formed the foundation with the mission of raising awareness of the disease that affects American Indians more than any other ethnic group, as one in two Seneca Nation members are diagnosed with diabetes. SDF works to provide education outreach, prevention awareness and to fund research in hopes of a cure.

Besides funding the scholarships, the foundation has purchased vans to transport Seneca members to dialysis and established a $1.5 million endowment fund with the Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo to help fund critical research, recruitment of top-notch pediatric endocrinologists, mentoring and internship opportunities and direct patient care for Seneca Nation members.