Scholarship Drive

In recognition of exceptional academic success and community involvement, University of Western States awards scholarships to current students. Being awarded a scholarship can have a lasting impact on a student. Funds can make a difference in a student’s ability to continue their studies and then go on to serve their community.

scholarship drive

Below are a few testimonials from UWS students discussing how receiving a scholarship has made big impacts on their lives. Click on each name to read more.
victoria lafont Alexa ElniskiSamantha CouttsAni Maitin

Victoria Lafont

victoria lafont

My name is Victoria LaFont and I am enrolled in the UWS Master of Science in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine program. Like all students at UWS, I am inspired to become an exceptional provider of whole-person, integrated health care.

I recently received a Community Service scholarship from UWS. I’d like to tell you a little about why my scholarship award was meaningful to me.

In 2011, I formed a private practice as a recently graduated nutritional therapy practitioner.

But there was a problem. And the more it occurred the more disturbed I became.

Every week, I received multiple calls from prospective clients asking if I was able to take insurance. Unfortunately, as a nutritional therapy practitioner, I was not able to.

I asked why they wanted to see me. Usually the answer centered around a chronic issue. The conventional system was not working and they were, for lack of a better word, desperate. These were people that absolutely needed foundational, functional support. But they could not afford it.

So, in July of 2015 I slowly started to change my business model. I started having conversations with my clients, asking them what they could afford, based on their current income.

Now my system is income based – everyone pays based on the amount of money they make, so everyone pays a fair price.

I believe that functional care should be available to everyone. Chronic illness does not discriminate. My goal is to standardize my model so that functional medicine is widely accessible to people in poverty, people in the highest socioeconomic status and everyone in between.

That’s why I decided to get more education. I am so glad I found the UWS Master’s degree in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine.

Receiving a scholarship gave me some extra help when I really needed it. And being recognized and commended for the work I’m doing felt so satisfying.

UWS asked me to share my story with you as an example of how your donation to the summer scholarship drive can help. Like medicine, education often remains out of reach for people who can’t afford it or aren’t able to take on a large amount of debt.

I hope my story inspires you to participate in this drive by making a gift. Funds raised will benefit students in all programs, and believe me – no gift is too small. Each one will bring a little financial relief and will inspire others like myself to stay on track.

– Victoria Lafont, NTP, HNFM master’s student

Victoria La Font graduated magna cum laude from Murray State University in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts degree with an emphasis in medical anthropology and professional writing. Her time studying different cultural practices sparked her interest in the link between chronic illness, degenerative disease and dietary habits. She is currently a lead instructor for the Nutritional Therapy Association and is enrolled in the UWS HNFM Master of Science program. She hopes her health journey never ends!

Alexa Elniski

alexa elniski

While completing my undergraduate degree, I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to work as a receptionist at the clinic of my chiropractor. His wife also practiced at the clinic. I had never met a female chiropractor before. She broke all of the stereotypes that a chiropractor must look masculine and strong. It was always funny seeing a large man come out of her room, looking slightly stunned and saying, “She’s stronger than she looks!”

A unique quality I quickly realized was that the majority of her patients would not see any other chiropractor. In order to receive proper chiropractic treatment, a person must be in harmony with the idea of another per on touching and manipulating them. For a variety of reasons, some people are more comfortable consulting a female doctor for their treatment. I realized that being a female chiropractor is not only a possibility, it is a necessity. The profession needs to represent all races, gender and identities in order to be able to sufficiently help all those who seek and need care.

When I tell people that I am going to school to become a chiropractor I have heard more remarks about my strength than I can count. “Chiropractors need to be strong!” “Stay in shape!” “How do you expect to adjust a 300-pound man?” ” You just physically couldn’t crack my back, that’s ridiculous!” The list continues.

I already knew that I wanted to go into chiropractic after my bachelor ‘s degree, but being able to have a role model that looked more like me added considerable confidence to my pursuit. I would similarly like to inspire other young women and break the stigma that all chiropractors must have certain physical attributes.

When I was notified that I would be receiving the Women in Chiropractic scholarship from UWS, I was so excited! Scholarships are the reason I am able to be in school. It is so expensive, the cost is living is high, and it is hard to work while in the program. In order to pursue my dreams, scholarships are necessary. Every bit helps.

Alexa Elniski, quarter 3 DC program, plans to work in a local clinic in her hometown after graduation.

Samantha Coutts

samantha coutts

When you grow up with two parents who are chiropractors you cannot help but be influenced to want to become a chiropractor too. My parents practiced out of our home so I have been immersed in chiropractic my entire life. I have watched people of all ages, from babies with colic to the elderly, arrive at our doorstep in pain and walk out with smiles.

As a child, I looked up to my parents as if they were superheroes. I was very proud to have such role models in my life and I loved to hear about how much they were helping our community. When people heard that I was the daughter of their local chiropractors they would always tell me how much my parents have helped them and their family.

Patients often speak about how strong my father is while my mother’s patients remark about how surprised they are that she is so petite and yet still able to achieve a positive result. The difference in these comments are so subtle and well-intentioned that the stigma and bias is well-masked. All I hear is the underlying meaning – I hear that people assume that males will be competent chiropractors and that females may not be strong enough.

For me, this has been a frustrating stigma to try to unravel. As frustrating as it is, I know that it is important for me to fight the stigma and pursue the career regardless, because the world needs female chiropractors. Chiropractic treatments involve touch, close proximity, and at times the transfer of sensitive information. If an individual does not feel comfortable receiving treatment, they may withhold pertinent information that may affect the treatment or they may tense up and prevent an effective manipulation to take place. Both of these results can be very dangerous and would add to a patient’s unease.

I feel that it is necessary for me to pursue this career and resist the feeling that others may assume that I am an inadequate chiropractor due to my gender or my stature. I will support other female chiropractors and stand as a role model to young females who are looking to pursue this field later in their lives.

Samantha Coutts, quarter 2 DC program, looks forward to returning home to Tsawwassen, BC after graduating to “serve the community that raised her”. She will be working with her mother, Dr. Susan Coutts and her colleague, Dr. Spencer Smid.

Ani Maitin

ani maitin


There is no question donating to the scholarship fund makes a difference.  I had ideas to do more outside of my nurse practitioner role in a school-based health center, but working and being in school made me decide to put things on the back burner due to lack of time. With a scholarship from UWS it solidified my resolve to do a weekly walking group on my own time with patients. We will have health-focused discussions about nutrition, lifestyle and the body’s power to heal itself.” – Ani Maitin, HNFM master’s student, working to bring functional medicine practices to resource-poor communities.