Alaska Student Wins Kelley & Canterbury, LLC Curiosity Scholarship

Industry: Legal Services

Join us in congratulating the winner of our 2019 Alaska Curiosity Scholarship, and what she will do to overcome health inequity in Alaska.

Anchorage, Alaska (PRUnderground) September 12th, 2019

The team of lawyers at Kelley & Canterbury, LLC has called Alaska home for decades. We are a family-owned law firm dedicated to helping Alaskans overcome a personal injury. Not only have we practiced law in Alaska for nearly forty-five years, we also have a passion for helping our Anchorage and Alaska communities, both professionally and socially. From the Alaska Bar Association to youth hockey, the Kelley & Canterbury team works and plays in our home state.

Along the way to where we are now, the Kelley & Canterbury lawyers had teachers and mentors to support us, family members who inspired us, clients who shared their unique experiences, and a community who believed in us—we did not get here alone. In response to the amazing gifts we’ve received, we created the Alaska Curiosity Scholarship.

The Alaska Curiosity Scholarship is awarded to one graduating Alaska high school student who has demonstrated an unshakable, courageous curiosity to solve problems and make his or her Alaska community better for all. Today, Kelley & Canterbury, LLC is happy to announce the winner of its third annual Alaska Curiosity Scholarship:  Maria Paez from Robert Service High School in Anchorage.

Maria’s passion—and the subject of her essay for the scholarship—is health care inequity—inequity of access and inequity of quality. Maria notes that her experiences with both types of health care inequity have led her to dedicate herself to this cause, both now and in her future career. When socioeconomic factors lead to a person being denied access to healthcare, that person’s entire life and future suffers as a result.

Maria first encountered health care inequity on a trip to Tanzania, prior to her senior year of high school. Maria visited with Dr. Walli Msuya, the doctor in charge of the women’s health care program at the FAmE Clinic, after she raised money to purchase equipment which detects and treats cervical cancer for the clinic.

Maria realized that “While I definitely wanted to help the women in Tanzania, this experience also made me wonder if women in my own Anchorage community didn’t have access to healthcare.” Maria then volunteered at the Women’s Wellness Program at the Anchorage YWCA, conducting research to test the efficacy of mobile mammography vans in connecting low-income Hispanic women with breast cancer screening.

Maria has a more personal connection to health care inequity as well; her father—who was on Medicaid at the time—broke his humerus, and found that he was given the bare minimum of treatment. In some instances, her father was even treated as less than human. Maria remembered the deep connection her grandfather, a surgeon, had with his patients, realizing how rare that connection is in today’s medicine.

While Maria understands that healthcare equity is not a problem she can solve as a high school student, she believes it is a problem she can solve as an adult by “pursuing a career as a doctor so that I can treat all patients with the decency they deserve.” Maria is well on her way to achieving her goals, having been admitted to a combined acceptance program with Siena College and Albany Medical College. Maria additionally hopes to study Sociology as a means of gaining insight into how health equity can be promoted through systematic change. When asked what this scholarship means to her, Maria explained:

“To me, winning this scholarship means I can focus on my education without having to worry so much about the cost. Receiving this scholarship will enable me to focus on my studies rather than having to work two jobs as a student just to be able to afford college. I chose to attend Siena College because I was admitted to a combined admission program with Albany Medical College. Without scholarships, I wouldn’t be able to afford to attend this combined program. This scholarship makes it so much easier for me to achieve my dream of becoming a doctor and thus be able to serve humanity and help solve the issue of health care inequity. I am incredibly honored to be granted this scholarship!

The Kelley & Canterbury team instantly recognized Maria’s desire to create necessary changes within our healthcare system, impacting our community and our state. We are honored to support such an enthusiastic, goal-oriented young woman in her pursuit of higher education, and we wish Maria all the best as she pursues her dream of creating healthcare equity regardless of socioeconomic status.

The Kelley & Canterbury LLC team is a family-owned law firm focused on Alaskans who have been injured in car accidents, motorcycle accidents and other types of accidents. Since 1975 we have been providing peace of mind to injured individuals and their families. We are proud of Maria Paez for her contributions to our community and look forward to watching her change the world!

About Kelley & Canterbury, LLC

Kelley & Canterbury LLC is a family-owned law firm focused exclusively on helping Alaskans who have been injured in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, and other incidents. For more than 30 years, the firm’s team of attorneys has been providing peace of mind to injured individuals and their families.

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