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Battle Ground senior gets 5K scholarship

first_imgMontzerrat Pantoja can be a little bit of a pest when it comes to her family’s diet.Pantoja, a senior at Battle Ground High School, has a heavy interest in food science and nutrition, which has intersected with her family’s relationship to food.“My family, I kind of drive them crazy with, ‘Oh this is not healthy. Where’s our side of vegetables?’ I kind of get on their nerves,” Pantoja said. “It’s because I love them. I want them to be healthy.”While Pantoja might slightly irritate her family with healthy suggestions, the 18-year-old’s fascination with nutrition recently paid off in a big way. She was awarded a $5,000 scholarship from Kaiser Permanente that was created with the intent of diversifying the health care workforce. Since the scholarship’s inception in 2009, more than $4 million have been awarded to students, according to a Kaiser press release.“We are passionate about making health care equitable — it should be accessible and affordable for everyone, no matter their circumstances,” said Ruth Williams-Brinkley, president of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals of the Northwest. “A person’s language, race or ethnicity shouldn’t be a barrier to good care. … By creating a more diverse workforce, we can take a big step toward helping everyone in our communities live their longest, healthiest lives.”Pantoja lived the first seven years of her life in the United States, splitting time between California and Washington, before spending the next seven years in Mexico. She moved to Battle Ground at 15, and after a period of adjustment has adapted to high school life.last_img

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