Community Outreach

VIAA and its Members provides ten scholarships to students through its Insuring Rural Communities Scholarship Initiative. The scholarship – designed to enhance the sustainability of rural community residents through post-secondary education opportunities – is a partnership created by VIAA, The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis, and Travelers Foundation.

The annual scholarship of up to $5,000 per student and renewable up to 10 semesters is based upon financial need and academic potential. Designed for rural residents of Missouri and Illinois, recipients must have a high school diploma or GED certificate. The Insuring Rural Communities Scholarship is specifically for residents pursuing degrees or certificates in the fields of information technology, healthcare, and risk management.

Application deadline is generally mid-April for the coming Fall school year. If you have someone in mind that you would like to share this opportunity with, the application is available HERE. Before encouraging they apply, you may first want to make sure they have been a resident inside of an approved county for 2 years.  For a full list of approved counties go HERE

Meet the recipients of Insuring Rural Communities

Abram is from Dixon, Missouri. He is a sophomore at Southwest Baptist
University in the nursing program. His goal is to complete his bachelor’s
degree in nursing and continue to pursue a master’s in specialized nursing.
He is considering several career options, two of which are becoming a nurse
practitioner or a certified nurse anesthetist. Abram is taking Physical
Fitness/Wellness, Medical Terminology, and Elementary Statistics and
Genetics classes this year. He begins the formal nursing curriculum in
January 2022. Outside of the classroom, Abram is enjoying socializing with
friends, attending chapel, and participating in study groups. He received an invitation to join SBU’s chapter of the Alpha Chi National College Honor Society.

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Alexis (Lexy) is from Potosi, Missouri. She is in her last year at Western Governors University. She plans to graduate this coming February with a major in biological sciences for secondary education. The school year is going very well for Lexy. She has completed all of her classes and is currently student teaching in the Farmington R-7 School District, which she loves. After graduation, she plans to take the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education test for middle school science and become endorsed to teach grades 6-12 in science. A goal of hers is to teach a high school anatomy class in the Farmington School District. She believes that earning her bachelor’s degree at the age of 19 will be her biggest accomplishment so far. She has also
recently bought her first house with her fiancé. She says, “I am really looking forward to the day that I have my own classroom and can really get to know my students and spend time with them!”

Amy is from Monett, Missouri. She is currently a sophomore at the
University of Missouri-Kansas City. She is majoring in biology and minoring
in chemistry, with an emphasis in dentistry. She is enjoying her second year
of college, especially taking classes in-person, and she reports that she has
excelled in the first part of the semester. Outside of the classroom, she is
active in student organizations on campus as well as in the community. Amy
is the secretary of the Christian Medical & Dental Association and the public
relations executive for the Pre-Dental Society. In addition to these clubs at
school, she is shadowing dentists in specialties such as pediatrics and
orthodontics. She is also a tutor at Global FC in Kansas City, where she mentors, and offers support to, the refugee community. Through the clubs and shadowing, she has been able to learn more about her field of study, which she is passionate about. Amy says, “overall, this year has had a great start, and I know it will continue to be filled with even more positive experiences to come.”

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Ashley is from Leadington, Missouri. After completing her Associate in General Studies degree, she started the nursing program at Mineral Area College this semester. Her career goals are to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing and a nurse practitioner certification with a neonatal specialization. She is proud of her grades so far, especially in Pharmacology and Fundamentals of Nursing. In addition to her studies, Ashley is the fundraising executive for the freshman class of the Student Nurses Association. She says of the nursing program, “this program can be very stressful, but I have made some great friends and have amazing family members to help support me and get me through it.”

Cameron is from Fayette, Missouri. She is a sophomore at University of Missouri-Kansas City studying biology on the pre-medicine track. Her goal is to work in a medical field, such as dentistry, or as a physician’s assistant. Cameron says that she is an interactive learner, and she is enjoying this school year as her first year of college with in-person classes. She is especially enjoying Business Coaching and Consulting, one of her elective classes. At the completion of the class, she will be a certified coach through the Small Business Development Center. Outside of the classroom, Cameron has joined the Delta Zeta sorority, where she has participated in raising funds for the Starkey Foundation, a charity that helps the hearing impaired. She also works
for Jumpstart, tutoring preschoolers in underserved communities to prepare them for kindergarten. She says, “I am looking forward to the upcoming semesters and the exciting challenges that I will overcome.”

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Cassidy (Cassie) is from West Plains, Missouri. She is in her second year at University of Missouri-Columbia in the pre-nursing program and will begin a nursing program next year. After finishing her degree, she plans on working in an emergency room or intensive care unit for two or three years before starting a doctorate of nursing program to become a nurse anesthetist. This has been her goal since her sophomore year in high school when she had the opportunity to shadow a nurse anesthetist. This year, she is taking prerequisite classes for nursing school and is especially enjoying her microbiology class. Currently, Cassie is looking into volunteer positions for her school break including a hospice/palliative care facility. Cassie says, “I have set high goals for myself, but I believe I can achieve them.”

Delainy is from Palmyra, Missouri. She is a sophomore nursing student at Truman State University. After graduating in 2024, she plans to work at a hospital in labor and delivery or on the cardiovascular floor. After gaining a couple years’ worth of experience working at a hospital, she wants to become a traveling nurse so she can see many parts of the country. Delainy has joined the Delta Zeta sorority, and she feels that being in the sorority provides many benefits. In addition to the social aspects, there are many other nursing students in the sorority, so she is able to get assistance and guidance. Delainy says, “I sincerely appreciate the support provided by the Insuring Rural Communities Program and look forward to the semesters to come.”

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Hannah is from Poplar Bluff, Missouri. She is a freshman at the University of Missouri-Columbia in the nursing program. Her goal is to become a nurse practitioner. There were many adjustments in her first year of college, but Hannah feels that the university has become her new home and that she has made some lifelong friends. She enjoys meeting people from all different backgrounds and exploring the town. She has also enjoyed the college game days for football and basketball. She says, “I am really looking forward to next semester and cannot wait to see how I’ve grown by the end of freshman year!”

Kaela is from Quincy, Illinois. She is in her first year at Quincy University, having recently graduated from John Wood Community College. She is majoring in biology and plans to become a certified physician assistant. Though the adjustment to a new school was a bit difficult, she feels she has found her place. She loves engaging with her peers, many of whom have similar career aspirations. Kaela looks forward to participating in her first cadaver lab next semester. She says “I have found myself to be very fortunate that I get to attend a university that offers such courses. Of course, this entire experience could not be possible without the Insuring Rural Communities grant.”

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Zoe is from Poplar Bluff, Missouri. She is a freshman at University of Missouri-Columbia studying Psychology. She is considering a change in major to Marketing, with a minor in Psychology. She hopes to get an internship next semester through an organization at Mizzou that would allow her the explore that area of interest. Zoe says of this semester, “it has definitely been an adjustment, but so far I have made new friends.” Some of the things she is enjoying in college are being in a sorority and meeting new people. She also enjoys all the on-campus events, as well as going to sports games.