Brandman University awarded four scholarships this month in honor of alumnus Bryan Fazio.
The awardees are Steve Coolidge, Heather Hively, Kevin Park and Michael Perry.
The scholarship honors the perseverance and triumph of one of Brandman’s most inspirational graduates. Fazio overcame an aggressive form of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Despite being told he had nine months to live, he doubled up on his MBA courses and graduated in August 2013, beat the odds for diagnosis and recently earned his juris doctorate from Whittier Law School.
Candidates for the Bryan Fazio scholarship are military veterans in good academic standing with a medical condition or disability. They submitted essays that described their goals and how a Brandman education will help them achieve it.
Coolidge and Park each received $1,000 toward their Brandman educations.
Steve Coolidge is a student in the graduate psychology program for marriage and family therapy (MFT). A combat veteran, Coolidge served as a platoon medic for the 2nd Ranger Battalion for three years until being injured and wants to work with veterans in Lacey, Washington.
“The reason why I feel compelled to work with soldiers and veterans is because of the time I spent in the service. I understand the unique needs of soldiers and veterans; my job as a platoon medic required me to not only be responsible for the physical health of my 40-man rifle platoon but to be responsible for their mental health too,” wrote Coolidge in his essay.
“Sometimes it is just really hard for this cohort to reintegrate into society (adjustment disorder); currently 22 veterans a day commit suicide,” he wrote. “I want this to end. I know my limitations, but I feel if I can save one veteran from such a fate then all of this education I have gone through will become worthwhile.”
Kevin Park is in the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MAOL) program at Travis Air Force Base. A U.S. Air Force veteran with 22 years of service, Park works as a federal civilian employee in the human resources office in the California National Guard.
“In this position, I have the privilege of hiring veterans into the National Guard after their service on active duty. This experience has been an honor and privilege. Many times, when military service members separate from active duty, they are unsure of their future. My office provides a healthy bridge and transition into the civilian sector,” wrote Park in his application essay.
“My Brandman education and military experiences have played a significant role in my leadership development and the current senior leadership opportunities I have been afforded. I have acquired leadership confidence and training at Brandman that I otherwise would not have had.”
Park said his education could help him reach his next goal of working at the National Guard headquarters in Washington D.C. at a senior level.
Hively and Perry each received $500 scholarships, additional awards made possible by special contributions to the Fazio Scholarship fund by the Irvine Rotary Club.
Heather Hively, a Navy veteran, graduated with a bachelor’s in organizational leadership from Brandman and is currently seeking her MBA with an organizational leadership emphasis.
Her leadership classes, she wrote, have taught her “valuable leadership skills such as effective
communication, mind mapping, creative processes, and change management.”
She hopes to use those skills as a business owner and leader, even as she puts them to use immediately with her toddler daughter.
Michael Perry is also a Navy veteran, serving for 23 years with 18 years of continuous sea duty. Family obligations brought him to the state of Washington where he discovered he could attend classes at Bangor Naval Base and finally finish his bachelor’s degree.
“The (Brandman) office staff at the base have been outstanding in assisting this old chief into getting back to school. My course of study is B. A. in Organizational Leadership, which will assist me reentering the workforce,” wrote Perry.