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Physiology senior selected as this year's recipient of the Thomas Adams Memorial Scholarship Award

Kelsey Gullick headshot
Gullick says attending MSU was her childhood dream. "Even if I had all the money in the world, I would still pick to go to MSU," she said. Next up for her is PA school. Credit: Tyler Lee

Kelsey Gullick, a Michigan State University physiology senior, was recently named the winner of this year’s Department of Physiology’s Thomas Adams Memorial Scholarship Award. 

The Grand Rapids native was chosen by a panel of physiology faculty who based their selection on intellectual curiosity, financial need, and demonstrated academic promise. 

For Gullick, the scholarship came just at the right time.

 “I knew I had to work more this semester to help pay for tuition and personal expenses,” said Gullick who is a first-generation college student. “I wanted to build my class schedule to be considered a full-time student and receive more financial aid, but I needed to work.  Unfortunately, I had to let school come second.”

Thankfully, the scholarship enabled Gullick to reprioritize her situation by awarding her $12,000 for this upcoming academic school year. She says that some of that money will go towards tuition and basic necessities, and some will be spent next semester when she applies to physician assistant (PA) programs.

“The Thomas Adams scholarship will allow Kelsey to achieve her academic goals by reducing the number of hours she needs to work to support herself,” said Lawrence “Karl” Olson, interim chairperson of MSU’s Department of Physiology. “It will also decrease the financial burden imposed on her family.”

For many students like Gullick, the cost of college is a stressful situation. Despite applying for various scholarships while in high school, Gullick, who is also a MSU Honors College student, only won a small amount of money. It was enough to just cover the cost of her books for one semester. 

“When I got accepted into MSU and Grand Valley State University (GVSU), I knew that GVSU would be cheaper,” said Gullick who always aspired to be a Spartan. “I remember being upset because I wanted to go to MSU but felt that GVSU was the safer and more affordable option.”

Kelsey Gullick poses at a table
Gullick and her boyfriend, Payton, a chemical engineering senior, will both graduate next spring. "Having that motivation and being with someone going through the same thing is very helpful," said Gullick of her boyfriend's support. Also expected to join the commencement celebration will be Gullick's older brother, Caleb, a geology major. Credit: Tyler Lee

After a conversation with her mother and older sister, they encouraged Gullick to follow her dreams to East Lansing. Other than student loans, Gullick currently works two jobs as a MSU undergraduate learning assistant and medical assistant at a local podiatrist office to help with her college expenses. 

“Money was always something I worried about as a kid,” said Gullick who is the youngest of four children and comes from a single-parent household. “I didn’t want to take out a lot of loans and then be stressed about it all the time because classroom work does that already.”

After graduate school, Gullick plans to have a career working in women’s health. She says her success wouldn’t be possible without scholarships like this one that gives student that light at the end of the tunnel.

“If you work hard enough and put everything into achieving your dreams and goals, it will pay off,” she said. “Within our Department of Physiology, you’re more than just a student. You will get recognition for all of your success.”

By: Tyler Lee

About the Thomas Adams Memorial Scholarship Award:

Thomas and Peggy Adams
Thomas and Peggy Adams. Courtesy photo

Thomas Adams was a MSU physiology professor from 1967 until his retirement in 2011 at the age of 80-years-old. When he passed away in August of 2011, his wife, Peggy, established the memorial scholarship fund to help honor his love of learning and dedication to helping students achieve success. During the span of his 44 years at MSU, it is estimated that he taught and touched the lives of more than 16,000 students. 

While the scholarship amount varies each year depending on how much the endowment has grown, this year was the largest amount value that MSU’s Department of Physiology awarded the winner. The scholarship is open to any MSU junior or senior majoring in physiology. Students can begin applying for the scholarship in the spring semester. The deadline for the 2023-2024 scholarship will be March 1, 2023. 

For more information, visit: https://physiology.natsci.msu.edu/academics/undergraduate/bachelor-of-science-in-physiology/physiology-undergraduate-awards-and-scholarships/