November 29, 2010 10:00 AM
Velma C. Claypool, a first-year student at the Pikeville College School of Osteopathic Medicine (PCSOM), is one of 35 select recipients of this year’s Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Scholarships.
In receiving the honor, Claypool joins other future physicians, attorneys, artists, educators and leaders from 20 states and eight countries are attending some of the best universities in the United States and Europe. A total of 11 scholars are in medical school or seeking advanced degrees in health and science-related fields, while others are studying engineering, architecture or technology, attending law school or enrolling in graduate programs in journalism, creative writing, education, art, music, political science and social work.
The 2010 class represents the ninth consecutive year the foundation has provided graduate scholarships with the total number of alumni in the program now at 206. All Cooke Scholars have distinguished themselves academically during their undergraduate career and share a strong commitment to community service. In addition, this year all the Graduate Scholars were previous Foundation Scholarship awardees.
“Having been an undergraduate transfer scholar with the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, I’ve been familiar with this prestigious organization since 2006. The Continuing Scholar Graduate Award honestly means everything to me,” said Claypool. “I truly believe that given the opportunity, the scholars associated with the foundation could and would save the world. I’m humbled and truly honored to be considered a Jack Kent Cooke Scholar. It has forever changed my life, instilled hope that my dreams are worthy, my values have merit, and that there exists a multitude of others who sincerely want to give back to a community, a people, a world and to work for the greater good of mankind in every possible way.”
Claypool has served as a volunteer at animal shelters and animal rescue organizations. In an effort to meet the tremendous need, she started Abounding Grace Animal Rescue to help find loving homes for mistreated and neglected animals.
The Graduate Scholarship program provides up to a total of $50,000 to assist students in reaching their academic and professional goals. Most of the 2010 Graduate Scholars come from humble beginnings and many have faced challenges along the way.
“These Jack Kent Cooke Scholars are exceptional students who’ve been with us for quite a few years,” said the foundation’s executive director, Lawrence Kutner, Ph.D. “This scholarship will remove the financial pressure on them and allow them to focus on what they do best.”
A graduate of Tennessee Technological University, Claypool is from Rock Bridge, Tenn. She is the daughter of Frances Grace and John D. Claypool Sr.
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is a private foundation dedicated to helping young people of exception promise reach their full potential through education. The Foundation provides challenging opportunities to high achievers from lower-income families through its Young Scholars Program, generous scholarships for undergraduate and graduate study, and grants to nonprofit organizations and educational institutions.