UM-Flint surprised D'Asia Beard with Greater Flint Community Leadership Scholarship

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D'Asia Beard sitting a desk with UM-Flint cupcakes and plaque
In a workday surprise, D’Asia Beard was awarded UM-Flint’s Greater Flint Community Leadership Scholarship, which covers two years of tuition and mandatory fees.

Unless it's your birthday, most "surprises" at work are likely to ruin your day. That's especially true when you work for a health care organization and are pulled into a room to answer questions about a "serious investigation." 

Such was the situation D'Asia Beard, an incoming MS in Health Care Management student from Flint, found herself in July 27 when two unknown people arrived at her employer, Prime Radiology Consultants, to ask her questions regarding this "investigation." Beard found the line of questioning a bit odd, being asked if she studied health sciences as an undergraduate and if she intended to earn a master's degree. 

That's when the "interrogators" revealed their true identities – Christopher Lewis, director of Graduate Programs at UM-Flint, and Lori Vedder, UM-Flint's interim vice provost of enrollment management. The pair weren't there for an investigation at all, but rather to award Beard the Greater Flint Community Leadership Scholarship. This graduate-level award requires nomination by the applicant's employer and covers up to two full academic years of tuition and mandatory fees. Applicants must also reside in Genesee County.

Christopher Lewis, Lori Vedder, and D'Asia Beard posing for a picture
Lewis (left) and Vedder (right) traveled to Prime Radiology Consultants to award Beard (center) the full ride scholarship. 

Receiving the highly selective scholarship is a difference-maker for Beard's future. 

"I'm very grateful to have this scholarship and have the weight of paying for graduate school lifted off my shoulders," she said. "It's one less thing I have to worry about as I pursue my next degree and continue advancing my career. I know a lot of students who stop after undergrad because they already have loans to pay." 

UM-Flint's health care management master's program is a perfect fit for Beard. Thanks to the program being completely online, she can continue working full time and living in Flint while she completes her graduate studies. In addition the program offers flexible study plans between one-and-a-half and three-and-a-half years, so learners can choose the pace at which they complete their degree.

As the physicians relations administrator at Prime Radiology Consultants, Beard is the chief liaison between the organization's facilities in Flint, Warren and Chicago. She credits the team of administrators and physicians around her with helping her learn and grow in the challenging position. They see Beard as a leader who doesn't shy away from new responsibility. 

"It was clear from her dealing with others that she possessed a strong sense of caring, a high level of patience, a strong work ethic and determination," wrote Khaled Hammoud, chief medical officer at Prime Radialogy Consultants, in Beard's nomination letter. "She also displayed exemplary leadership while leading our ancillary staff and training of incoming staff members. It is highly apparent that the aforementioned qualities and virtues will drive her to success in the career of her choice."

Beard's vision for the future includes helping Prime Radiology Consultants expand across the state and nation with the tools she gains in the UM-Flint master's program. After that, she sees herself as a chief administrator of a health care facility. 

"I would very much like to lead a hospital, nursing home or any kind of health care facility," she said. "In my current position, I'm able to exercise my skills and take on new challenges every day. Being the chief administrator of a facility would allow me expand my impact and make a difference through my leadership." 

Beard learned of the GFCL Scholarship through UM-Flint's website, which lists hundreds of scholarships for every kind of student. She applied for several before receiving learning of her GFCL award and she urges everyone to investigate their options and apply. 

"I was stressed about paying for graduate school and then two days later I found out I was awarded a full ride," Beard said. "Do your research and apply for as many scholarships as possible. The worst they can say is no!"

Visit the Office of Financial Aid's scholarship webpage to learn more about the GFCL Scholarship. For more on the MS in Health Care Management, visit the graduate programs webpage

Logan McGrady is the marketing & digital communication manager for the Office of Marketing and Communication.