The Bryan A. Collins Scholarship Program
Announces Five New Winners For 2022-25
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These 5 Scholarship Winners Will Enter
The Dr. Levi Watkins Institute at TSU
Preparing Them For Careers As
Doctors and Dentists
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The Bryan A. Collins Scholarship Program
Has Now Awarded 185 Scholarships
Since Its Launch in 2007

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NASHVILLE (AP), Oct 29 – For the first time, five high school students have been awarded 3-year, $5000 per year Bryan A. Collins Scholarship grants to attend the prestigious Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Institute at Tennessee State University (TSU).

Through this Institute, TSU and Meharry Medical College have teamed up to achieve the goal of preparing more black students for careers as doctors and dentists.

These five students will study for three years at TSU and then go on to Meharry for four years of medical or dental school — after which they will be conferred their B.S. degree in Biology or Chemistry after successful completion at TSU — and their M.D. or D.D.S. degree upon completion of the medical or dental program at Meharry Medical College.

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“We are excited to start this new chapter in our scholarship program in our son, Bryan’s name,” said Francine Pace and Alan Collins, parents of the late Bryan A. Collins and founders of the scholarship program.

“We need more black doctors and dentists. And, it is truly an honor to support these five talented, incoming TSU students.

“We wish them much success at TSU as they prepare for their journey towards entering the medical and dental profession.”

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Barbara Murrell, Chair of the Dr. Levi Watkins Jr Institute at TSU concurred.

“The Institute family is very grateful for the contribution and support of The Bryan A. Collins Scholarship Fund established at the TSU Foundation,” said Ms. Murrell.

“Dr. Watkins was a world-renowned heart surgeon and a TSU alum. He is credited with implanting the first automatic defibrillator in a human patient.

“We are hopeful the students that have enrolled in the program in his honor will follow in his footsteps and become role models for other Black kids.  Upon completing Medical/Dental school, these students will commit to a career as primary care physicians or dentists, serving underserved communities.

“On behalf of TSU and the Dr. Levi Watkins Jr Institute, we’d like to thank Bryan’s parents for establishing this program to support these excellent students.”

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Here’s a close-up look at the
2022-25 Bryan A. Collins Scholars:
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Gavin Gibson…From Houston, Texas…Majoring in Biology in the Dr. Levi Watkins program at TSU…Graduated from high school with a 4.0 GPA…Was a top 100 ranked Tennis player in the state of Texas, serving as team captain for two years, a regional finalist and a four-year varsity player….Served as the leadership Chair in the Young Men’s Service League Katy Chapter focused on giving back to the community and making sure the voices of the underserved are heard…Was a 2-year member of HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) logging 100+ hours of community service…Ran multiple children’s tennis camps, in addition to mentoring high school players.

Gavin plans to get his DDS (dental) degree as a stepping stone to help him become the best dentist he can be, eventually opening his own practice to be able to provide services to those who are underserved and underrepresented more easily.

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Journey Brinson…From Memphis, Tennessee…Majoring in Molecular Biology in the Dr. Levi Watkins program at TSU…Graduated as salutatorian of her elementary school, valedictorian of her middle school, and with high honors at White Station high school…. Served in the Empowerment club which raised over 1,000 menstrual products in the hopes of helping period poverty and the lack of menstrual resources for homeless women in Memphis…Also a member of the Volunteer club, the Environmental club, and the Science club geared towards connecting current medical workers to future ones…Enjoys playing guitar and dancing ballet and hopes to continue honing her skills while in college despite her rigorous academic schedule.

Journey’s goal is to become an M.D. with a commitment to bring more healthcare services to Black communities and to inspire hope in people of color in the medical profession.

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Jackson Jeter…From Atlanta, Georgia…Majoring in Biology in the Dr. Levi Watkins program at TSU…Graduated with high honors from Denmark High School, in Alpharetta, GA…Has a passion for serving and giving back to the community…Throughout the pandemic, he helped provide meals for families as a member of the National BETA Club…Tutored students in math and sciences…Serves as a mentor and enjoys spending time helping others grow and flourish into their potential…Competent in computer coding and has created and edited webpages and websites…As a varsity basketball player earned two All-County Academic and Team awards, Two County Player of the Month awards, an MVP award, and with his team, has achieved two Region championships…Earned a state championship during his AAU seasons.

Jackson aspires to attain his M.D. to become an internal medicine doctor and open his own practice to lower the rate of diabetes and improve the health care within black communities.

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Sierra Smith…from Atlanta, Georgia…Majoring in Biology in the Dr. Levi Watkins program at TSU….graduated from Campbell High School’s International Baccalaureate Program with a GPA of 4.4/4.0…Served as class president during her Sophomore, Junior, and Senior years…Created the Campbell Women’s Athletics Club, a club to empower and recognize female athletes at her high school…Participated in varsity volleyball all 4 years helping to take the team to state twice…With her older sister, Sierra, she founded a nonprofit 5031C organization called Shoes4Everyone, an organization providing need with shoes internationally while also keeping the shoes out of landfills and protecting the environment…Since being established in 2019, they have collected over 15,000 pairs of shoes through numerous shoe drives in their communities.

Sierra plans to become an M.D. to significantly impact the community positively, help close the racial disparity gap in medicine and to increase the trust between black patients and their physicians.

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Thomas Hoff…from Jacksonville Florida…Majoring in Biology with a focus in cellular and molecular biology in the Dr. Levi Watkins program at TSU… While maintaining a 3.7 GPA, he was a 4-year starter on his high school baseball team, captain of the team, making all-city 3 times…Member of the Chess and Spanish clubs…Passionate about community service, having provided over 150 hours of documented volunteer work including work with the local Urban League and numerous homeless shelters… Helped and shadowed medical staff at Baptist Health and Pareto Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida where he fell in love with patient interaction and understood the impact doctors have on people’s lives.

Thomas aspires to become an M.D. to help address the community’s racial disparity with black doctors and be a positive catalyst for change in society.

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In wrapping up, Francine Pace and Alan Collins, offered the following final comments on the program: “We’d like thank Barbara Murrell and Lalita Hodge for their outstanding leadership and hard work in setting up our visit to TSU on October 29. And we’d also like to extend our warm and heartfelt appreciation to our families and all of our awesome super-contributors — especially Pamela Hewitt and Warren Lawson — for their unwavering support and generous donations to the scholarship for sixteen consecutive years.”

“You have all gone beyond the call of duty to make this program a success!”

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If you’d like to contribute to the
Bryan A. Collins Scholarship Program,
you can find more information HERE.
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If you’d like to apply for the
Bryan A. Collins Scholarship Program,
you can find more information HERE.

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The Dr. Levi Watkins Jr. Institute was
established in 2020. More information
about it can be found HERE.