GHS MedEx Academy graduate awarded first Zimmerman Scholarship

GREENVILLE, SC – A second-career nursing student, prompted to go into field because of how nurses cared for her dying grandmother, is the recipient of the debut Robyn Zimmerman Scholarship.

The award is in honor of longtime Greenville Health System public and community relations director Robyn Zimmerman, who retired from GHS in 2015. The scholarship will benefit students at GHS’ Medical Experience (MedEx) Academy, an innovative work force development program at Greenville Health System.

The first recipient is Octavia Frazile of Greenville. Frazile will be a sophomore at Greenville Technical College this fall. The surprise honor was presented to Frazile by Zimmerman at the MedEx Academy graduation ceremony on July 5 at Furman University’s Younts Center.

“It’s an honor to be the recipient of the inaugural Robyn Zimmerman Scholarship,” said Frazile. “I was very surprised to learn that I had received it. I’m thankful to everyone who saw my potential, helped me along me along this journey and supported both me and my family.”

Her fellow students and academic advisors describe her as a service-oriented, compassionate leader who is incredibly motivated both inside and outside the classroom. Frazile, a former grocery store manager, is a mother to three boys under the age of 10 and married to Pierre Frazile, a U.S. Marine who just recently completed a 10-month active duty deployment.

“Octavia embodies all that is good about the health care profession,” said Zimmerman. “Her intellect and drive is only surpassed by her heart to serve patients. She manages to balance her studies while being a dedicated mother to three beautiful boys and a loving wife to a United States Marine. This scholarship would not have been possible without the support of my GHS colleagues, and I am honored that she will set the bar high for future recipients. I know Octavia will make her dreams come true!”

In her role as at GHS, Zimmerman was often the face of GHS in the Upstate community, bringing compassion and enthusiasm to everything she did. In celebration of her retirement, her colleagues and friends made contributions in her honor in support of the MedEx Academy. A long-time educator at Greenville Technical College, Zimmerman requested that the funds be used to build the next generation of health care workers by giving Greenville Tech scholarships to deserving MedEx graduates. Award criteria included academic performance and community service and leadership.

Frazile represents a “non-traditional” but growing number of MedEx students – those who pursue health care jobs after working in other fields.

Frazile chose to pursue nursing after her beloved grandmother was hospitalized.

“I realized the impact the nurses brought to my grandmother’s life and the comfort they provided to me and my family after my grandmother’s death,” said Frazile. “This scholarship represents affirmation of what I wanted to become. I’m humbled, grateful and excited!”

 Said husband Pierre, “Octavia seamlessly and selflessly maintained our busy household during my deployment. She encouraged our children, supported me from afar and never wavered in her pursuit of a health care career that blends her talents and passion to serve others.”

“And I’m incredibly excited and proud of her and the 4.0 semester GPA she earned while I was overseas,” added her Citadel-graduate husband.

MedEx Academy is a one-of-a-kind program designed to create more interest among young people in pursuing careers in health care. MedEx’s goal is to make health professions more accessible to students from diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds and to develop a training pipeline that helps build a future robust workforce. Since 2010, MedEx has grown from 12 students from two high schools to more than 170 students from 24 high schools and 30 universities in 2018.

“I’ve always believed the MedEx Academy is more than a program; it is a relationship built everyday through dedication from both our students and the community professionals dedicated to expanding student minds and hearts,” said Al Squire, executive director of MedEx Academy. “We are so proud of Octavia and all our graduating students.”

Students in the MedEx Academy program are eligible to receive academic credit at associated partner universities, year-round access to mentoring and support services, individualized funds allotted for academic development like school supplies and test prep kits, financial assistance, and merit-based college scholarships like the Zimmerman Scholarship.

MedEx Academy is part of the GHS Health Sciences Center, which works collaboratively with its academic partners to leverage strengths and bring more value to students, employers and the community.

For more information on the Zimmerman Scholarship or MedEx, click here or visit https://hsc.ghs.org/medex/.

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