Whitney Athoe says she was "never a number" at Fredonia.
Access to Quality Education

Biology graduate: You’re sending a 'powerful’ message by funding a scholarship

Scholarships have special meaning, beyond the obvious, for Whitney Athoe.

“It’s almost like receiving an award, and the award also comes with helping you to pay for school, so it’s really great,” says Whitney, recipient of three scholarships (Robert Rie Scholarship, Woods and Earl Memorial Scholarship and Biology Department Scholarship) that helped her earn a Medical Technology degree in 2017.

But Whitney offers another dimension to scholarships – and the donors who make them possible – that’s not so apparent.

“These people are choosing you to win their awards, and choosing to have you represent their name. They’re contributing money to help you, so they believe in you and think that you’re going to do well,” Whitney explains. “It’s powerful.”

By funding a scholarship, Whitney says, you’re making a statement.

“If you’re really passionate about medical technology, and you give money for a medical technology scholarship, you’re giving into not only something that you have done all your life and really believe in, but you’re helping people to achieve their goals in that field as well,” Whitney explained. “If I’m getting a medial technology scholarship from somebody in medical technology, they’re giving into the future because they want future medical technologists and the future of this field to grow and be great.”

Immersed in a clinical internship at UPMC Chautauqua WCA, a regional medical center in Southwestern New York, is where Whitney spent her senior year. It’s the sort of off-campus experience that provides talented students with real-life work experience. She attended classes there and shadowed medical technologists in the lab.

“We’re following everything that they do, right by their sides,” Whitney explained. She observed and conducted tests under the supervision of a medical technologist. “We’re doing everything that we’re going to be doing as real-life techs.”

Whitney’s confidence grew at Fredonia, which prepared her well for the internship.

“I knew right when I got here that I had tough classes and tough professors that had gotten me ready,” she said.

Whitney chose Fredonia over larger schools because of the relatively small size of the Medical Technology program. She wanted one-on-one attention that comes with smaller classes and professors that knew her name. “I really liked that,” she said. “I was never a number.”