Connestee Falls scholarship winner Aleece Fosnight is a high achiever. A 2003 graduate of Brevard High School, she finished her course work a semester early and started Brevard College as a sophomore in January 2003.
She graduated from Brevard College in 2005, cum laude, with a B.A. degree in health science studies and a minor in chemistry, all the while working 25 hours a week at Ingles.
After an unsatisfying stint as a teller manager at a bank, she took two classes at Blue Ridge Community College and then enrolled in the University of Kentucky Physician Assistant Program, graduating in 2011 with a Master of Science degree in physician assistant studies. She then attended the University of Michigan School of Social Work where, in 2014, she obtained a postgraduate certificate in sexuality counseling and education.
She now works as a physician assistant, sexuality counselor and educator at Pisgah Urology and Transylvania Women's Care in Brevard.
In the midst of all of this academic achievement, 10 years ago Aleece married her high school sweetheart, whom she had met in fifth grade. They have two daughters, age 1 and 3.
Fosnight's drive started early in life. When she was in second grade students were encouraged to work for extra grade points by doing extra projects, such as spelling words with popsicle sticks. Instead of picking one extra project, she would do them all.
As she progressed through elementary and high school, she danced, played alto saxophone – as first chair in sixth, seventh and eighth grades - and played softball and volleyball. She also acted as a school mediator from fourth grade through high school.
Fosnight credits her mother, who raised her and her younger brother alone, with always motivating and being supportive of her children even while she was working two or three jobs to provide for them. If Aleece's mother is proud of her daughter, Aleece is also proud of her mother. She is delighted to report that her mother lives a few houses from her and her family and sees her daughter and granddaughters every day.
Having appreciated the team-based approach to health care that she found in her PA program, where students and faculty were "all for everybody helping everybody out," Fosnight is in the process of creating the Fosnight Foundation to provide support for others in her field.
With regard to the scholarship assistance she received from the Connestee Falls Student Scholarship Program, she stated, "I am eternally grateful because, as much as people say that money doesn't matter, it does. Without those scholarships, I wouldn't have been able to go through school when or where I did."
As part of her extremely active life, Fosnight is giving back to the Brevard community and the larger medical community of which she is now a part in many additional ways: she started a sexual assault task force team for the county; she has been an instructor for the health sciences student internship at Brevard College and the Wake Forest University Physician Assistant Program; she currently serves as a preceptor for the criminal justice student internship at Brevard College; she is on the BC College Alumni Board and Board of Visitors; and she acts as a physician assistant to the county medical examiner.
She also gives frequent talks in the area regarding many aspects of urinary and sexual health.
In summary, Fosnight proves the wisdom of Ben Franklin's observation that an "investment in education pays the best interest."
(Ms. Fosnight will be the keynote speaker at the Connestee Falls Celebration of Education Gala on Sept. 21. )