The board of directors of the Foundation of CCMS is pleased to announce the winners of its 2019 Foundation healthcare scholarship awards: Jessica Behrndt, Gabriela Fernandez, Roxana De La Luz Arieta, Justine Bedolla, Elta Desvaristes, and Crystal Taylor.

The final tally of 2019 scholarship awards given by the Foundation is now $34,500.

The Foundation of CCMS healthcare scholarships are for students who are Florida residents enrolled or accepted into a healthcare degree program, with awards based on need, academic performance, and community involvement.

“We received scholarship applications this year from many exceptional healthcare students,” said Dr. Rolando Rivera, Chair, FCCMS board of directors. “We are indebted to the numerous Foundation donors and sponsors who have given us this opportunity to support our future medical professionals.”

Jessica Behrndt, a Barron Collier High School and University of Florida graduate attending Florida State University College of Medicine, received a $5,000 award. “This scholarship will help alleviate some of the financial burdens of medical school and allow me to focus on my dream of becoming a physician,” said Ms. Behrndt. “I hope to continue my passion for providing care to the underserved throughout medical school and one day return to Naples to give back to the community that has supported me so much.”

Gabriela Fernandez, who received a $5,000 award, is a Barron Collier High School and Florida Gulf Coast University graduate attending Ross University School of Medicine. “This scholarship will help me tackle financial obstacles I would otherwise not be able to overcome myself,” said Ms. Fernandez. “Thank you for believing in me by gifting the opportunity to continue my education so that one day I will be able to practice medicine and give back to those like me.”

Roxana De La Luz Arieta, a Lorenzo Walker Technical High School and Florida State University graduate, received a $3,000 scholarship for pursuing her Physician Assistant degree at AdventHealth University. “As a first-generation Latina, I will make it a priority to work in areas where medical providers are most needed,” said Ms. Arieta. “Thanks to the contribution of the Foundation I will be able to remain motivated and continue working towards accomplishing my mission.”

Justine Bedolla, who received a $3,000 award, is a Lely High School and Florida State University graduate attending the Florida State University College of Medicine. “This will greatly help alleviate the financial burden of my final year of medical school,” said Ms. Bedolla. “The support of the Foundation not only motivates me as I continue my medical journey, but also encourages me to help others pursuing medicine in the future!”

Elta Desvaristes is a Lely High School and University of Florida graduate attending the Barry University Physician Assistant Program. She received a $3,000 scholarship. “As a first-generation college student, receiving this scholarship will allow me to pursue a career in the medical field,” said Ms. Desvaristes. “My dream is to medically treat and serve individuals of underserved populations, give back to my community, and inspire others to pursue their dreams.”

Crystal Taylor is a North Miami Beach Senior High School and University of Miami graduate attending the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She received a $3,000 scholarship. “Your generosity has done so much more than just alleviated some of the debt I am incurring to pursue my medical degree,” said Ms. Taylor. “It is a reminder that I have a whole team behind me cheering for my success and believing in my efforts to make the world a better place.”

The Foundation’s signature fundraiser, the Docs & Duffers Golf Tournament on September 28th, will help raise funds for its scholarship program and local healthcare programs in need. The Foundation is a 501(c)3 charitable organization launched by the Collier County Medical Society in 2012, with the mission to provide support and leadership to programs that address access to healthcare and promote health education. More information is available at