Jon Christian Merkel Scholarship Fund

Merkel winner

Adrianna Lee

Adrianna Lee graduated with a BA in Biochemistry and Cell Biology from Rice University in Houston, TX, where she volunteered as an Advanced EMT and was exposed to underserved, underinsured populations in the community ERs. After graduation, she entered medical school at the University of Maryland, where she continued to work with underserved populations in Baltimore, providing free visual field and glaucoma screenings through the UMB student Sightsavers. In her free time, she mentors middle school students through the UMB CURE program and volunteers with a running group to inspire confidence and self-sufficiency with individuals experiencing homelessness through Back on My Feet at Baltimore Station, which Adrianna hopes to continue through her second year. As the president of the student Sightsavers, she also hopes to increase the number and accessibility of vision screenings for the underserved West Baltimore population at Lexington Market to help catch irreversible vision loss early and connect those patients to care and treatment options. Upon graduation, she hopes to deliver care to underserved populations in an urban setting using resources available at an academic center, with a goal of helping patients who may not have regular access to healthcare through community outreach, screening, and education.

Merkel Winner

Chelsea Schafer

Chelsea Schafer is a Maryland native, having grown up just outside of Baltimore City in Catonsville, MD.  At the age of eleven, Chelsea experienced tragedy as her 20-year old brother died suddenly from a cardiac event during his college lacrosse game. Chelsea has since dedicated herself to the healthcare profession and has become passionate about the prevention of sudden cardiac events in adolescents, particularly amongst student athletes. After obtaining her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the University of South Carolina's Honors College in May 2014, Chelsea returned to Baltimore to start her career at the University of Maryland Medical Center.  While working on the Multitrauma Intermediate Care Unit at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, Chelsea was presented the "Rising Star" Award in her first year of nursing.  This award signified her motivation and exceptional commitment to the advancement of nursing practice. Today, Chelsea works both in the Shock Trauma Outpatient Pavilion and as a Teaching Assistant at the University of Maryland’s School of Nursing. She is also currently pursuing her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, with a concentration in Family Practice, from the University of Maryland’s School of Nursing. It is Chelsea’s utmost career goal to one day establish free heart screening clinics to identify and better protect at-risk student athletes in the community. 

Merkel Winner

Samuel Sinnah

Samuel Sinnah is a US citizen, but hails from Sierra Leone. His dad died when he was young and his aunt took care of him from age one to twenty-two. His aunt believed in education as the passport that would liberate him from poverty, ignorance and disease. His under-graduate study was at a theological school, the Evangelical College of Theology, a four-year post-secondary study in Freetown, the capital city of Sierra Leone. Samuel majored in Christian education and minored in pastoral studies. He is currently enrolled in the Palliative Care program at the University of Maryland Baltimore Graduate School. When he lost his wife and son in fire accident three years ago in Maryland, the church failed to provide grief counseling. The Palliative Care program exposes the weak links in traditional theological training when it comes to psychosocial and spiritual care. His goal is to mainstream key components of his studies into the curriculum of The Evangelical College of Theology in Sierra Leone. He intends to embark on in-service training within the United Brethren in Christ Conference America, to help his colleagues acquire the necessary skills to care for their parishioners.