Meet the Scholars

2017 Kenan Rural Scholars 

John Allen took the long way around to medicine. He grew up on the North Shore of Boston exploring the woods and mountains in northern New England. He spent ten years renovating and restoring historic houses as a carpenter. Then another ten years as a medic in the Army. He hopes to pursue full spectrum family medicine as a small town doctor in Western North Carolina. He has a beautiful wife and three wonderful children.


Julia Draper grew up in Tallahassee, Florida. She often visited the North Carolina mountains as a kid and they’ve been calling her name ever since. She moved to North Carolina the first chance she could get and pursued a degree in Integrative Healthcare from Guilford College in Greensboro. Julia is passionate about the interdependence of ecological strength, community well-being, and individual health. When she’s not working you can find her outside, on the trails or in her garden.


Blaise Ellery has split his life between the deserts of the South West and the lush mountains of Western North Carolina. He completed his undergraduate degree at UNC-Chapel Hill focusing on Anthropology and Eastern Religions.  It is during this time that his studies took him abroad to India where he became interested in rural medicine as well as underserved indigenous communities. He is drawn to remote rural locations and connects with the communities as well as the natural landscape. He hopes to serve in WNC where he can spend time in the great outdoors and fulfill the needs of the mountain community.


Chelsea Fitzhugh is from Albany, Georgia. Growing up in a rural area sparked her interest in serving disadvantaged populations in communities with poor healthcare access. During her undergraduate years at the University of Georgia, her volunteer work in the local community fed her passion for public health issues, specifically patient education. As a first year student, Chelsea has developed a strong interest in Obstetrics/Gynecology and hopes to pursue a career focused on holistic care and connecting underserved patients with healthcare resources.

(PICTURE COMING SOON!) Caroline Fryar did her growing up all across North Carolina--Chapel Hill, Boone, Winston-Salem, and Durham--before attending UNC-Chapel Hill to study Classics. After spending time managing a sheep farm, she decided that a career as a physician would be the most rewarding way to strengthen North Carolina's rural communities. She is interested in farming, literature, and health policy. She looks forward to building long-term relationships with her patients, and has the goal of ensuring adequate access to healthcare for everyone.

Molly Hamilton is from Mt. Airy, NC. She graduated with a degree in biology from Centre College in Kentucky in 2015 and spent a year following graduation training in wilderness medicine and working in outdoor education. She hopes to enter family medicine and looks forward to being a part of a rural community and serving the people of North Carolina.


Felicia Lombardi grew up in a small town in southern New Hampshire. I studied Neuroscience at Emory University where she completed an Honors Thesis on the effects of estrogen on brain maturation during adolescence in female rhesus macaques. She also actively worked towards reducing the stigma of mental illness on campus through open discussion and awareness events. After visiting Honduras on a public health trip, she gained a greater appreciation for rural medicine and the importance of preventative care. Felicia hopes to practice in a primary care setting in western NC to help address those issues that affect rural communities, especially related to the care of vulnerable populations, such as the elderly.

Wesley Roten is from West Jefferson, a small town in northwest North Carolina.  He studied biology at UNC-Chapel Hill and has worked on various research projects in both basic science and public health.  He is eager to learn more about medicine and healthcare in western North Carolina through the Kenan Rural Scholars program. Wesley hopes to practice family medicine in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina and to work on expanding the access and use of healthcare services for traditionally underserved populations.


Paul White is from Hertford, a small town in the northeastern North Carolina. Having lived in a rural area his entire life, Paul is very familiar with the lifestyle and the needs observed in such areas. He believes that the Kenan Rural Scholars Program affords him the best opportunity to develop into the patient-focused physician he desires to be. Additionally, he is excited to live and learn in a different region of the state while serving people he can relate to. Even though it is early in his medical education, Paul is pursuing a career in Emergency Medicine.


Travis Williams was born and raised in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  After playing basketball for one year at Montreat College near Asheville, he elected to transfer to North Carolina State University to finish out my degree in Human Biology with a minor in Philosophy.  Soon thereafter, he quickly developed a passion for underserved and rural medicine via medical trips to Guatemala, Belize, and Haiti.  In the three years between graduating from college and starting medical school, Travis worked as a medical scribe for Raleigh Neurology Associates, P.A.  His current areas of interest include Family Medicine, Sports Medicine, diabetes management, and Emergency Medicine.  

Kenan Rural Medical Scholars 2016

Kenan Rural Medical Scholars 2015 

Kenan Rural Medical Scholars 2014

Kenan Rural Medical Scholars 2013