News & Events

Backus Auxiliary awarded 10K in scholarships

May 24, 2013

NORWICH – The Backus Hospital Auxiliary awarded $10,000 in scholarships to local students pursuing careers in health care at its Annual Membership Tea on Tuesday, May 14.  Held in The William W. Backus Hospital’s conference rooms, the tea recognized four students who each received $2,500 to help further their educational goals.

Fran Leta, Chair of the Scholarship Committee said the scholarship is celebrating its 11th anniversary and continues to recognize amazing talents each year.

“I would like to thank the committee for this scholarship,” said recipient Kyle Liang of Norwich.  “This gift means a lot to me and my family.  My parents’ journey to this country wasn’t an easy road.  This financial support will be a huge help.  I would also like to thank Mary Brown, Backus Director of Volunteers and Guest Services, and the hospital staff for instilling in me the passion for medicine.”

To be eligible for a scholarship, applicants must be employed by or a volunteer at Backus.  They can also be the child, grandchild, stepchild or a foster child of an employee or volunteer.

This year’s winners included:

  • Kaitajaveet “Kait” Chowdhary, a graduating senior at Glastonbury High School, has volunteered more than 600 hours at Backus and the UConn Medical Center.  Among his academic achievements, Mr. Chowdhary is graduating second in his class of 539, he is a National Merit Finalist, semi-finalist in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology, Princeton Book Award winner, and was chosen to perform at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, among others.  His goal is to study molecular and cellular biology as part of his pre-medicine curriculum.
  • Shari DeNinno is a trained chemist who graduated with highest distinction and honors from the University of Kansas.  Ms. DeNinno chose nursing as a second career and has been working on Backus’ cardiac care/stroke unit for the last two years.  She is currently pursuing her goal to become a Clinical Nurse Leader at the University of Connecticut where she is completing a Master of Science in Nursing.
  • Kyle Liang, a graduating senior from Norwich Free Academy (NFA), is a volunteer at Backus and holds a job as a sales associate.  Mr. Liang excels at cross-country and track, and served as class president in his sophomore and junior years.  He is a National Honor Society student and hopes to become a physician assistant at Quinnipiac University.
  • Jill Provost, a graduating senior at NFA, has been a member of the Student Advisory Board, a Varsity cheerleader, a member of Project Outreach, and a National Honor Society student.  Ms. Provost also volunteers with a youth ministry group and a nursery school.  She has been accepted into the Biology Honors Program at the University of New Hampshire for the fall semester.  

PHOTO CAPTION:  Fran Leta, Backus Auxiliary scholarship chair, second from right, with the 2013 Backus Auxiliary scholarship recipients who each received $2,500 to purse careers in healthcare.  From left to right, Jill Provost, Shari DeNinno, RN, and Kyle Liang.  Kaitajaveet Chowdhary is not pictured.