The Neal Kocurek Scholarship Program, Texas's most extensive healthcare scholarship program, honors the vision of the late Dr. W. Neal Kocurek, Ph.D., former President and CEO of St. David's Foundation.

With a mission to foster healthcare careers, this program offers substantial financial aid and a supportive community to nurture future healthcare professionals. Students have the opportunity to apply for financial support totaling up to $60,000 to assist them throughout their higher education journey.

Who's eligible to apply
  • High school seniors graduating from schools in Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties interested in pursuing careers in clinical and non-clinical healthcare, such as: Medicine, Biomedical Engineering, Dentistry, Radiation Oncology, Nursing, Health Philanthropy, Optometry, Clinical Laboratory Technology
  • Psychology or social work applications are also accepted if planning to work in a medical environment
  • Students must be U.S. citizens and plan to attend college in Texas
Impact of the St. David’s Neal Kocurek Scholarship

Avery Koi, a 2018 Bastrop High School graduate and scholarship recipient, earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Texas at Austin in 2022 and is currently enrolled at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

“I was really excited about receiving this scholarship and the opportunity to meet the team at a dinner event. It made me feel privileged to have been selected because it was a significant award. It has had a positive impact on my finances, reducing the stress associated with covering college expenses,” said Koi. “The scholarship covered a huge portion of my tuition, allowing me to put money towards essentials like food. Now that I'm in medical school, it continues to be a valuable resource, especially since financial aid primarily covers tuition. It greatly assists with living expenses.”

Beyond financial aid, Neal Kocurek Scholars have access to a wide range of emotional and educational resources, including free mental health counseling, tutoring opportunities, professional mentorship and a supportive community of fellow scholars.

“During my college years, there were numerous social events, such as going to Alamo Drafthouse for movie nights or participating in arts and crafts nights. These activities allowed me to stay connected with fellow program members, and I still maintain contact with some of them,” Koi said. “Additionally, we were paired with mentors where I had the chance to engage in helpful conversations with my mentor, who happened to be a nurse where I was able to gain valuable insights about the hospitals in Central Texas.”

According to Koi, one standout feature of the program is the availability of free counseling services, which she greatly values.

“Counseling can be quite costly, but they've generously offered numerous free sessions, which has been truly valuable,” Koi said. “While the application process may initially appear daunting, there are supports along the way and I highly recommend going through with it.”

Scholarship requirements and ongoing support

Scholarship applicants undergo an evaluation process that considers both academic merit and financial need.

“If you're considering applying to graduate school, I'd also encourage you to apply for this program as well. I've been part of it for six years now, and it has been a fantastic connection, especially since it's affiliated with the St. David's HealthCare system,” Koi said. “Many of the mentors involved in the program also work at St. David's, further enhancing its benefits.”

Those selected for the scholarship will receive annual funding of up to $7,500 for up to four years during their undergraduate studies at Texas colleges and universities. Following that, they can receive support for up to four years for graduate studies and/or medical school, along with annual assistance of up to $4,000 at Texas community colleges.

“It's more than just a scholarship but rather a comprehensive program. They emphasize regular check-ins to ensure we’re on track,” Koi said. “It's evident that their main goal is to see you succeed. So, these check-ins serve as a motivating factor to keep in touch with them and ensure you continue to receive financial and emotional support.

Since the program began in 2005, 704 Neal Kocurek Scholarships have been awarded, with an additional 41 scholarships awarded in 2022. The evaluation of scholarship applicants considers both academic achievements and financial need.

Healthcare professionals in Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties are encouraged to learn more about how, as a community, we can foster the next generation of diverse healthcare providers. Consider applying to become a mentor for the Neal Kocurek Scholarship Program today.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to mark their calendars for November 6, when the application period for the Neal Kocurek Scholarship Program opens. Students eager to embark on a healthcare career journey can submit their applications here. The deadline to apply is January 5, 2024.

The above story was produced by Multi Platform Journalist Holly Galvan with Community Impact's Storytelling team with information solely provided by the local business as part of their "sponsored content" purchase through our advertising team.