LFCC Ross Fellowship for Service and Scholarship recipient Ashley Pullman is passionate about her volunteer nursing project at the Sinclair Health Clinic in Winchester.
Pullman, a 2018 graduate of Millbrook High School, was selected for the prestigious award from a “very, very competitive pool of finalists,” LFCC Educational Foundation Executive Director Liv Heggoy says.
The one-year endowed fellowship, which is funded through a $1.4 million bequest from World War II veteran Charles Ross, covers the cost of full-time tuition, as well as textbooks and the purchase of a computer.
The scholarship committee judged students on academic merit, service to their school and community, and their proposed volunteer project.
“We designed the fellowship to include a service learning component,” explains Heggoy. “Their community service project should be aligned with their academic goals, so that they are learning while volunteering.”
The recipient receives a $1,000 stipend upon the successful completion of the service project, which requires a minimum of 45 volunteer hours each semester.
Pullman plans to exceed the required 90 hours in her volunteer certified nursing assistant role at Sinclair Health Clinic, a free medical clinic in Winchester. There, she works with patients alongside a licensed practical nurse, a physician assistant and a nurse practitioner.
The need is so great that patients must make appointments three months in advance, Pullman says.
Pullman dreams of becoming a registered nurse, and earned her certified nursing assistant license in high school through career training at the Dowell J. Howard Center. She’s already completed several volunteer shifts at Sinclair.
“I think it’s really cool that I get to immerse myself with patients and get their point of view – which really matters,” Pullman says. “This has opened my eyes to a whole different side of things, and it just affirms the fact that I really do want to be a nurse and help people.
“This is a journey that is allowing me to grow, learn and collaborate with others in the healthcare field.”
At Millbrook, Pullman had taken some dual-enrolled LFCC courses, earning college credits while in high school. She has known since her junior year that she wished to be a nurse.
“Lord Fairfax presented a great opportunity for me,” she says. “It introduces you to college life in a safe and comfortable space that allows you to grow while staying home and saving money.
“Some of my classes are definitely hard, but I enjoy the material and I really like all of my professors, and I think it’s a really good environment.”
Pullman hopes to earn her associate degree in nursing from LFCC, and then transfer, possibly to the University of Virginia for her bachelor’s degree in nursing.
Her goal is to work in the urology field.
“I like that patient population, and I’m interested in how all the systems work together,” Pullman says.
As part of her CNA co-op during her senior year of high school, Pullman worked 400 hours at Winchester Medical Center. She spoke to her co-workers there about volunteer opportunities, which is how she selected the free clinic for her volunteer efforts.
“I wanted to have direct patient care,” Pullman says.
Learning that she was selected for the Ross Fellowship was a shock.
“I was so excited,” Pullman says. “I’ve done volunteer work in the past, and this gives me the opportunity to have an even stronger commitment to helping others. After my service project is done, I want to continue volunteering at the Sinclair Health Clinic.”