Local doctors are past recipients of ECCF scholarship

Four local doctors are proof that the investment made by the donor who established the Joseph A. Williams Memorial Medical Scholarship Fund has had long-lasting effects for our communities. Amy Kelly, DO, Julia Wonderling, MD, Tim Vollmer, DO, and Blake Housler, OD are past scholarship winners from this fund. They have all returned to the area to share their talents and expertise with their hometown friends and neighbors.

As the saying goes, giving is not just about making a donation, it’s about making a difference. The 98 scholarships administered by the Elk County Community Foundation have surely made a tremendous difference for many students in our area.

Financial assistance is a necessity for many college students, particularly those planning careers that require many years of education beyond the undergraduate level. Every student’s situation is unique, but one thing is all too common: a financial gap that needs to be filled with parental contributions, scholarships, money-saving efforts or more time at work. By taking some of the financial pressure off of students and families, we can enable greater success in college. Every bit of assistance helps deserving students who want to graduate with their degree and give back to society. The Joseph A. Williams Memorial Medical Scholarship Fund helped four of our local doctors reach their goal.

Julia Wonderling, MD, was the recipient of $4,200 from the Williams Scholarship Fund in 2003.  Dr. Wonderling serves her community as an Emergency Room physician at Penn Highlands Elk. Dr. Wonderling

graduated from Drexel University in Philadelphia and did her Emergency Medicine internship and residency at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, New Jersey. 

Amy Kelly, DO, specializes in Family Medicine and now serves area residents through Penn Highlands Healthcare. Dr. Kelly was awarded $4,200 from the Williams Scholarship Fund in 2004. She graduated from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, and did her Family Medicine internship and residency at Altoona Hospital.

As a Pain Management specialist, Tim Vollmer, DO, practices at the Penn Highlands Interventional Pain Center. Dr. Vollmer graduated from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Erie, and completed his residency in Anesthesiology and a Fellowship in Multidisciplinary Pain Medicine at the University of Florida. He was awarded a $1,750 scholarship in 2010 and a $1,000 scholarship in 2011, both from the Joseph A. Williams Medical Scholarship Fund. Dr. Vollmer stated, “The Williams Medical Scholarship and my time spent job shadowing various physicians at Elk Regional Hospital as a high school and college student were certainly my gateway into a career in medicine. Prior to this experience I had very little experience in healthcare and a limited understanding of possible healthcare related careers. This scholarship helped form my path into developing the career I have today, and more importantly, it granted the opportunity to utilize that career in improving the healthcare of the population in my hometown that I care so deeply about. I hope the foundation and scholarship continue to grow into the future to help develop additional physicians who will ultimately serve our own local community.”

Dr. Blake Andrew Housler resides in St. Marys and is an Optometry Specialist at Allegheny Eye Care in Kane and Smethport. He graduated with honors from Pennsylvania College of Optometry in 2015. Dr. Housler received a $1,000 scholarship in 2011 from the Joseph A. Williams Memorial Medical Scholarship Fund. Dr. Housler stated, “I can’t believe it’s been almost 10 years since I’ve been awarded the Joseph A. Williams medical scholarship. I am honored to be among this list and I am blessed to be back to help serve members of the community that mean so much to my family and myself.”

Scholarships matter. ECCF has awarded nearly two million dollars in scholarships to Elk County students since 2000. Scholarships help students pursue degrees that impact their community and instill a greater sense of belonging – and motivation – to make it through their higher education.

Scholarships are more important than ever from a financial perspective — and scholarship programs are crucial to the students in our community. To learn more about establishing a scholarship of your own, contact the Foundation at 834-2125 or email eccf@elkcountyfoundation.org. The Elk County Community Foundation is a non-profit organization that strives to strengthen our region through development, stewardship and grant making as it works with donors to achieve their philanthropic goals.