Elizabeth Quinley, a three-time award winner of the Sertoma Hard of Hearing or Deaf Scholarship, gives her first hearing test at Missouri State University, in Springfield, Missouri. The scholarship money she received from Sertoma provided her with the books and resources that she needed for her audiology classes, and inspired her to become a lifelong member of Sertoma.
Elizabeth Quinley, a 21-year-old, bright eyed scholar from Visalia, California, moved to Springfield, Missouri, to pursue her dream of helping others, and to achieve a higher education.
One of the biggest reasons Quinley moved to Springfield was because she had been selected to receive several scholarships, including three very special scholarships from Sertoma.
When Quinley was three-years-old, she was diagnosed with bilateral moderate mix hearing loss, and attended speech therapy shortly after. At the age of four, she was provided with her first set of hearing aids, which allowed her to communicate and hear for the first time.
Quinley said that although she does not remember a great deal of what life was like before her hearing aids, she does realize the significant impact it has made in her life.
She said that growing up with hearing aids has allowed her to communicate without any complications. Ultimately, this became one of the biggest reasons as to why Quinley decided to pursue a degree in audiology. Her childhood experiences ignited her desire and drive to help others.
In total, Quinley estimates that it will take her around 8 years of school to become an audiologist. With the increasing cost of books, tuition and other related costs, she realized how quickly the expenses could add up.
Therefore, to help lessen the financial burden, Quinley and her mother began looking for scholarship opportunities while she was a senior high school. During her search, she came across Sertoma’s Hard of Hearing or Deaf Scholarship.
“I fit all of the criteria for the scholarship,” Quinley said. “So, I decided to apply for it.”
Impressively enough, Quinley became a three-time award winning recipient of Sertoma’s Hard of Hearing or Deaf Scholarship, and was awarded in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Quinley said the scholarships from Sertoma drastically helped relieve her mind of stress from the financial challenges of college, and in return, helped her focus on school more. After receiving her scholarships, Quinley decided that she wanted to show her appreciation to Sertoma, and decided to get involved with the organization.
Quinley contacted the Queen Sertoma Club in her area, attended a meeting, and joined shortly after. She said that she liked Sertoma’s mission, and the fact they both shared a mutual passion for hearing health and helping others.
Quinley is currently enrolled at Missouri State University (MSU) in Springfield, Missouri, and is pursuing a degree in communication sciences, while minoring in biomedical sciences. She has also continued to stay an active member in the Queen City Sertoma Club, and recently attended her first national Sertoma Convention in St. Louis.
“Becoming a member of Sertoma has been an enriching experience,” Quinley said. “For me, the scholarship wasn’t just about the money. It was having a team behind me, my own support system.”
Quinley says that after school she would like to become even more involved with Sertoma.
“I have seen all of the wonderful contributions that my club has given the community. It’s amazing,” she said. “I don’t know where I will be in the future, but I know I will be part of Sertoma.”