The SMA Healthcare Foundation (the Foundation) is excited to announce this year’s recipients of the Larry and Joan Kelly Scholarship awards, Tasia Martinez, RN and Jennifer Sexton, LPN.

The Daytona State College award was granted to Tasia Martinez, RN. The SMA Healthcare Foundation’s Larry & Joan Kelly Scholarship for a Daytona State College student has been awarded to Tasia Martinez, RN.

Tasia is a young student, new to nursing (6 months at Halifax), who has spent her entire nursing career in IMC/ICU dealing with COVID patients. Despite the challenges, she has a very positive outlook and is inspired to continue to help people. She loves community service and shared that it is what convinced her to be a part of the Student Nurses Society.

Upon learning of the award, Tasia shared, “I am beholden to the Larry and Joan Kelly Scholarship. Getting awarded this generous scholarship will help me finish my bachelor’s degree at Daytona State College and then continue my education with my master’s degree. This scholarship will help me with tuition, books and ease the stress of working full-time and being in the bachelor’s program full-time. I resonate with a quote Florence Nightengale once said, ‘Let us never consider ourselves finished nurses. We must be learning all of our lives.’ I believe as a nurse you are always learning whether in school or working in the field. “

Jennifer Sexton, LPN, an employee at SMA’s St. Augustine outpatient clinic, is awarded the SMA Staff Award.  Jennifer works in SMA’s St. Augustine Outpatient Center and has been with SMA since July 2013. Along with carrying out her role as an LPN, she has also pioneered improvement strategies to enhance workplace wellness.

In response to winning the award, Jennifer stated, “I am grateful to be among the recipients of this scholarship, a group of hardworking individuals also working to further their education. I am blessed to work with an amazing and supportive team in St Augustine who are always pushing one another toward their goals.”

The Larry and Joan Kelly Scholarship Fund was established in 2019 to support local students pursuing a healthcare degree with a focus on behavioral health. With the lead gift of $10,000 from the Perryman Family Foundation, and successful auction of teddy bears at the Foundation’s 2019 annual dinner celebration and auction, the Board of Directors made the decision to offer three awards annually.  It was determined that two recipients would receive funds for the fall semester, one award for a Daytona State College student and one for an SMA Healthcare employee, and the third for the spring semester to a student from St. Johns River State College. 

If you would like to help us continue to grow the Kelly Scholarship fund, please visit www.SMAFoundation.com