Photo (L-R): Ryleigh Baker; Marilyn McLaughlin, MD, YH Physicians Committee;
Chloe Baker; Patrick Taylor, MD, President & CEO, York Hospital; Brooke Parsons;
Sue Little, Co-Chair, Friends of York Hospital Committee; Connor Woodward;
Mary Leisentritt, RPh, YH Apothecary; Kate Ford, Director, YH Volunteer Services;
and Judith McAllister, Co-Chair, Friends of York Hospital Committee.
Unable to attend: Recipients Alison Machinski and Natalie Morgan


The Friends of York Hospital Scholarship Committee recently announced the 2022 scholarships that were awarded to six local high school students in the class of 2022 who will be pursuing careers in health care. Despite the ongoing pandemic and the many roadblocks posed to their normal educational and extracurricular activities, this year’s recipients persevered and distinguished themselves from their peers. Committee co-chairs Judith McAllister and Sue Little wish these impressive and motivated students well on their remarkable journeys to improve our world. “We are excited and hopeful as we wait for their post-holiday updates—and humbled to help promote these futures with a focus on health, hope and healing.”

Chloe Baker, a graduate of Noble High School and a dual enrollment student at York County Community College (YCCC), has embarked on her college career, majoring in Human Studies/Biology at the University of Southern Maine (USM) in Portland. Chloe, who has successfully completed EMT training, intends to apply to medical school after graduation from USM. Before COVID-19 ended all extracurricular activities, she was a member of the indoor track and softball teams. Not one to waste newly found free time, Chloe then enrolled in online courses at YCCC, which allowed her to graduate with 37 college credits. Her commitment to community service was equally impressive, as she served over 155 hours as a volunteer camp counselor for the Berwick Recreation Summer Camp. Impressed by her determination, the Director of Berwick Parks & Recreation said, “Chloe is the ideal American youth. She has commitment, motivation, and perseverance . . . is empathic, understanding and a confident, analytical thinker. Her guidance counselor adds, “What I find most impressive and notable, is Chloe’s pure passion for helping people.”

Ryleigh Baker graduated from Sanford High School and has chosen the University of Maine at Orono (UMO) School of Nursing. Her ultimate career goal is to become a physician assistant. Many life experiences motivated Ryleigh to pursue a career in medicine, including frequent visits to her great-grandmother in the hospital and nursing home and a book on human anatomy she requested for Christmas at age seven, which quickly became weathered and dog-eared from constant reading. She chose to join the medical profession as soon as she could, earning her certified nursing assistant (CNA) license through the Health Occupations program at Sanford Regional Technical Center during junior year. She still found time to play lacrosse, and remain an active member of the Civil Rights, GSTA, and Environmental Clubs, while volunteering for both high school and middle school band events. “Ryleigh consistently demonstrates poise beyond her age, and the impressive ability to navigate personal, school and work responsibilities during a global pandemic,” said her supervising nursing unit manager. Her school counselor agrees, adding “she will not back down from a challenge, taking on the most difficult in order to reach her goals . . . Ryleigh is really a breath of fresh air.”

Alison Machinski, a graduate of Sanford High School, is enrolled in the dual-degree nursing program at Gordon College, in Wenham, Mass., where she will earn a BS with a major in biology and minor in psychology over three years. Over the subsequent 16 months, Alison’s course of study will concentrate on nursing courses, ultimately leading to a BS in nursing.  In addition to maintaining a 4.0 GPA and earning a spot in the National Honor Society, Alison was a Peer Helper, member of the Homecoming Club and Future Educators of America, and sang soprano in the chorus. Those who know her will confirm that much of Alison’s motivation is faith-based, derived heavily from interaction with children in her community. In addition to participating in the High School Ministry, Youth Worship Team and Young Life, Alison served in her church’s children’s program, where “this hard-working and reliable young lady cared for, and created and implemented activities for children, infants to age nine,” said the Early Childhood Director for both the church and early learning center where she volunteered and worked. Her school counselor agrees, adding, “Alison is among the most caring and thoughtful kids I have ever worked with – smart with high marks. But her best qualities come through when she is dealing with children – she is trusted and cherished.” It makes sense that Alison plans for further education following college, in pursuit of her dream to become a postpartum nurse. There are lucky babies, moms and dads in her future.

Natalie Morgan is a graduate of Sanford High School (SHS), in her first semester at the University of Southern Maine (USM) School of Nursing. While at SHS Natalie received academic awards for swimming, field hockey and lacrosse, and earned membership in the National Technical Honor Society and the Perfect Attendance Award. Additionally, she volunteered in the High School Ministries, Worship Team and Young Life activities. Natalie completed the Health Occupations program at Sanford Regional Technical Center, earning high honors, along with her CNA license. This led to a satisfying and educational position at Pinnacle Health & Rehab in North Berwick, bringing Natalie closer to her college and career goals. Her supervisor lauds, “Natalie has been a valued member of our team, demonstrating commitment to her role and providing thoughtful attentive care to our residents during the COVID-19 outbreaks.” Always inquisitive and empathetic, she recalls younger days playing with friends, bringing out wraps, gauze, ice packs and a stethoscope to check them for injuries. It’s no surprise that Natalie’s school counselor offered such enthusiastic praise, saying, “Natalie is a great student . . . we need more people like her caring for our most vulnerable, sick and needy. She has a kind heart, sharp wit, and powerful ability to react positively under pressure.”  Undoubtedly, Natalie, and all who know her, will continue to benefit from these attributes.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Brooke Parsons graduated from York High School (YHS) and is attending the UCONN School of Pharmacy in Storrs, Conn., to pursue a BS/PharmD degree and career in health care. Following this six-year program, Brooke’s goal is to work in a hospital setting. A strong background in math and science and an unusually deep interest in pharmacy responsibilities fueled Brooke’s excitement for a future that may include “altering signal transduction pathways in the human body or perhaps medical research to cure cancer.”  While planning these possibilities, Brooke enjoyed a job scooping ice cream, played on the YHS girls’ soccer team, ran indoor winter track, and participated in Interact Club and Yearbook. She also volunteered for York Hospital’s dining team and job-shadowed in the Apothecary, still with time to help Toys for Tots and the York Community Service Association (YCSA) Thrift Shop. Her work ethic also earned membership in the National Honor Society and the Spanish Honor Society. Brooke’s former supervisors, school counselors, science, math and Spanish teachers, all commended her can-do attitude, each offering their own perspective. “Brooke is always willing to go the extra mile – bringing her work from good to great.” A “phenomenal work ethic, even at 14 years old,” and an “independent, quiet leader who truly exemplifies the phrase life-long learner.” And finally, “not one to ‘check the box,’ Brooke researches and dives deep, not for the grade, but to seek to learn as much as she can.”  We’re certain that is exactly what she’s doing at UCONN right now.

Connor Woodward, a graduate of Wells High School (WHS), is enrolled at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla. This biology/business major is planning for a career as a sports medicine physician. His field of choice is no surprise, as Connor spent much of his time on the WHS fields playing varsity golf, basketball and lacrosse all four years. Connor’s leadership abilities were front and center both on and off the field in Student Council and Interact Club, through Wells Ogunquit Football & Youth Cheering Association, Wells Youth Lacrosse, Preble Street Shelter and Ronald McDonald House in Portland. He also exceled in the classroom. His counselor noted Connor’s success and enjoyment of the variety of AP science and math courses he took, along with the rigor of courses in English, Art and Biology studied at York County Community College. His lacrosse coach added, “Insightful, disciplined, and focused, his work ethic is contagious. There is no quit in him.” Connor’s physics teacher said he is “perceptive, sharp, and quick, with a high aptitude for math and science . . .  and a great sense of humor. The perfect person to get a group project rolling, yet knowing when to let others take the lead.” Accolades from mentors for a bright and hopeful future, lead us to these wise words from Connor himself, “Life is not a perfect science – my best knowledge is gained from past experiences, evaluating past steps, and more importantly, missteps. I do know that collectively I have been successful in the past and have great confidence in the future.” We’re confident he speaks not only for himself, but his fellow scholarship recipients as well.

Scholarship Chairs Judith McAllister and Sue Little are grateful to the York Hospital Physician’s Committee and the York Hospital Apothecary for once again contributing to the Friends of York Hospital Scholarship Fund. In addition to the physician and pharmacy-led donations, members of the Friends of York Hospital contribute annual dues and conduct a much-anticipated Holiday Basket Raffle each December to increase the scholarship awards.

The Friends of York Hospital Scholarship Program has been helping students achieve their higher education goals since 1962. Applicants must be high school seniors who graduate from a high school in the York Hospital service area (the Berwicks, Eliot, Kennebunk, Kittery, Lebanon, Ogunquit, Sanford, Wells, and York) and plan to enter a medical/health care field.  The application process includes an essay (in which students describe their interest in working in the medical field and advocate for their selection), official school transcripts, and letters of recommendation from guidance counselors and employers. The selection committee, which is comprised of hospital staff and members of the Friends of York Hospital, reviews all applications and determines awards based on merit and need. The submission deadline for next year’s scholarship is Friday, March 17, 2023. All interested students may reach out their guidance counselors, or visit the York Hospital website to download an application.

If you wish to donate to the Friends of York Hospital Scholarship Fund to help future students who aspire to enter careers in health care, please send your tax-deductible contribution to Friends of York Hospital co-Chair, Judith McAllister, at:

York Hospital
Attn: Judith McAllister (Friends of York Hospital)
15 Hospital Drive
York, ME  03909

For further questions about the Friends of York Hospital Volunteer organization, please contact co-President and Volunteer Coordinator, Kate Ford, at [email protected] or 207-351-2224. For inquiries regarding York Hospital services, please contact York Hospital Community Relations at 207-351-2385 or [email protected], or visit the York Hospital website at