The Bothwell Foundation recently awarded four Medical Careers Scholarships to Sedalia students.

The recipients include Alex Esquivel, Annalise Mergen, Blake Pomajzl, and Valerio Toderescu-Stavila. All four graduated high school this month.

BRHC says each of the students will receive a $500 scholarship from the Bothwell Foundation with an additional $500 in matching funds from the Health Services Group Foundation.

Alex Esquivel graduated from Smith-Cotton High School and will begin pre-physical therapy classes in August at Drury University in Springfield. A press release from Bothwell says Esquivel’s participation in the Bothwell Medical Explorers program helped direct his career path, as he had the opportunity to assist a physical therapist. “Seeing how grateful patients were made it clear to me that this (physical therapy) is the profession for me,” he said. “Not only do I want to enhance physical health, fitness and quality of life to adults and children, but to help athletes return to the games they love. “


Annalise Mergen graduated from Sacred Heart and will begin taking classes in August at Rockhurst University in Kansas City. This past year, she was able to job shadow in four different areas at Bothwell Regional Health Center. During that time, she worked with an occupational therapist that helped guide her education path. “The role of an occupational therapist is one of being creative, patient and encouraging, as well as being extremely flexible. Because this is a good match for my personality, I truly love the idea of being an occupational therapist and will strive to do my very best in that field,” she said.


Blake Pomajzl graduated from Smith Cotton High School and will be attending Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, beginning in August. Blake plans to pursue an athletic training career, where he will be able to help athletes prevent injuries and regain strength after an injury to get back to their sport. After Blake completes his education, he hopes to return to central Missouri to give back to local athletes by working in a physical therapy practice or school.

Valerio (Val) Toderescu-Stavila graduated from Smith-Cotton and will be attending Missouri State University in Springfield where he will study to be a pharmacist. When Val was born, he suffered from abdominal organs located outside of his body due to a disease called gastroschisis. “After a few unsuccessful surgeries and no hope of living, one doctor decided to help by performing one more surgery,” he said. “My surgery was successful, and because of him I have been changed forever. Because of this medical miracle at the beginning of my life, I have always wanted to be involved in the medical field in some way and would like to pay it forward to others.”

The Bothwell Foundation says the scholarship was established to encourage students that are interested in pursuing a health-related field.

Kurt Parsons