Samuel Weinstein, MD, MBA
February 23, 2017
When we decided to create the Brown-Brukardt Perfusion Scholarships program in honor of Jim Brown and Gary Brukardt—men who helped advance the practice of perfusion—we felt it was important to find and support students with the potential to drive improvement in healthcare like Jim and Gary did throughout their careers. Today, we are proud to announce that Cassandra Wuest and Kyle Zelesnick are the recipients of our 2017 perfusion education scholarships, and they are even more talented and impressive than we had hoped.
Cassandra, a perfusion student at Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida, is expected to graduate in May 2018. She also has a BS in biomedical chemistry from Kansas Wesleyan University. Her work history includes time at Salina Regional Hospital as a telemetry tech/ICU specialty tech and Walgreen’s Pharmacy as a pharmacy technician.
Cassandra received stellar recommendations from her program director and instructor at Barry University. Both recommendations highlighted the hard work, curiosity, and intellectual rigor that Cassandra brings to her course work and training. By all accounts, she embodies the high achieving student leader interested in promoting quality patient care. The personal essay she included with her scholarship application points to a strong interest in a sustained career in perfusion and related research.
Kyle is a perfusion student at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. He is expected to graduate in May 2018. Kyle is a certified pharmacy technician who earned a BA in biology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He also received continuing education in medical terminology from Carroll Community College.
Kyle works as an autotransfusionist and has experience as a pharmacy technician and emergency department scribe. He co-authored work on cervical spine injury that appeared in the Journal of Neurosurgery and, as an undergraduate, was honored by The Scientific Research Society for demonstrating excellence in scientific research. Kyle’s dedication, drive, and focus will serve him well as a clinician and an ambassador for the advancement of perfusion and patient care for years to come.
On behalf of everyone at SpecialtyCare, congratulations to Kyle and Cassandra—we look forward to following your careers! I’d also like to acknowledge the work of our Scholarship Committee—led by Andy Stasko, CCP, MS, RRT, Al Stammers, MSA, CCP, and Linda Mongero, CCP—who developed the stringent selection criteria for the Brown-Brukardt Perfusion Scholarships, traveled to the nation’s accredited schools to meet with students and program directors, and successfully attracted top applicants to the program. I am thankful for your energy and your ongoing commitment to the future of perfusion.
And finally, it is a tremendous privilege to present these scholarships in the memory of Jim Brown and Gary Brukardt. Their commitment to healthcare was not just significant, it was life changing for countless patients. I am deeply grateful to their families for generously allowing us to share the spirit of their dedication with these deserving students. We have all been inspired by Jim and Gary, and we’re thrilled to help develop the next generation of perfusionists who will benefit from their legacy.