Scholarship in Honor of a Great Lady: Soozie Courter

Last week I blogged about a great scholarship from Baxter. This week I want to share another from Pfizer.
Pfizer Hemophilia is excited to announce the launch of the new application period for the Soozie Courter Hemophilia Scholarship program.   I knew Soozie from long ago, when she actually lived in the next town over from me. A wonderful woman, devoted to her work in the hemophilia community, who left us much too early.
Pfizer Hemophilia awarded more than $50,000 in scholarships for the 2012-2013 academic year to students in the hemophilia community, illustrating Pfizer’s long standing pledge to help patients with bleeding disorders attend college and further their education. Congratulate all of last year’s winners!

These scholarships are intended for U.S. applicants with hemophilia A or hemophilia B who present the best combination of a creative and persuasive essay, excellent recommendations and superior academic standing.  Sign up now to be eligible for the Soozie Courter Scholarship. All applications must be received by no later than May 24, 2013. Scholarship winners will be announced in July 2013. For more information or to download an application, please visit:

Great Book I Just Read
Explorers of the Nile: The Triumph and Tragedy of a Great Victorian Adventure by Tim Jeal (Kindle) 2011
I’m a huge fan of reading about African exploration, and discovered this comprehensive gem recently. This book covers all the key players in mid-1800-early 1900 who put their lives on the line to explore Africa’s interior. From David Livingstone’s failed Zambezi exploration to Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke’s joint quest to find the source of the Nile, and their subsequent falling out, to Samuel Baker and attempts to colonize Africa, to the brash Henry Morton Stanley–arguably the most accomplished of them all–this 500-page, exhaustively researched book details the horrors, the triumphs, the Royal Geographic Society politics, the men behind the funding. Different than most other books I’ve read, this one greatly details the coordinents and pathways each explorer chose in their search for the Nile’s origins. It was a bit overwhelming at times! I was deeply impressed by the amount of research Jeal did, and how he faithfully records his sources. Less impressive is the axe he grinds against Richard Burton, who was glamorized in the movie “Mountains of the Moons,” making Speke the inferior and petty man. Jeal found just the opposite and lauds Speke, idolizes him really. I just found the comparisons as to why Burton should not be lauded a bit over the top and personal, and detracting from this otherwise exemplary book on adventure, exploration and colonization of Africa. Four/five stars!

Get the Education Advantage

Did you know that LA Kelley Communications had the very first on-line listing of national scholarships? We started this many years ago, and now update it yearly. Go to our scholarship page to learn more. But this week I want to highlight one right here.

For the fourth consecutive year, Baxter Healthcare Corporation is sponsoring the Education Advantage scholarship program for hemophilia A patients. Baxter has increased its funding of this program year after year.

To date, 104 scholarships have been awarded, totaling $565,000. Students working toward a bachelor’s degree are eligible for up to $15,000 per year. Students seeking an associate’s degree or pursuing a technical/vocational certificate program are eligible for up to $2,500 per year. Scholarships are renewable for up to three years or until the student finishes school.

The program is administered by Scholarship America, the nation’s leading non-profit scholarship administrator. Scholarship America is solely responsible for reviewing all scholarship applications, determining financial need and eligibility, and selecting scholarship recipients.

The Education Advantage program will start accepting new scholarship applications on February 1, 2013.  Completed applications are due
to Scholarship America and postmarked by April 1, 2013.
The program goes beyond financial aid with resources to help people with hemophilia A get more out of life, including education planning, career development, health management and community involvement.
For more information on the program, visit or call Scholarship America at 877-544-3018.
Interesting Book I Just Read
Confessions of a Public Speaker by Scott Berkum (Kindle)
Scott Berkun may be a professional public speaker, but speaking and writing are two different media. This book is a mixed bag. He shares his own career as a public speaker, trying to be part comic and part storyteller, but neither really works at first. The opening chapters are awkward and clumsy, with repeated references to aliens and spaceships for some reason. Lots of the information he shares is info you can get from much better written books. But midway through the book it does get more interesting. It becomes less about his direct experiences (which are kind of lame) and more about the psychology of presenting, listening and delivering. I found the chapter on TV and other media interesting (perhaps because I don’t do a whole lot of that and wanted to know more).
Know that at least one-third of the book is appendices. These contain good condensed information. I didn’t like his use of profanity,
and wondered what kind of a speaker teaches about what to beware of when he himself swears! Unless you know your audience intimately, unless you are on the level of a Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, or unless you are a comedian, never use profanity for risk of alienating your audience. Two and a half out of five stars.

New Alex Lieber Memorial Scholarship

I am very pleased to announce that we are offering a new scholarship for young men with hemophilia or anyone with von Willebrand Disease. And best of all, we are offering this as a way to help pay for books, travel costs, dorm living… anything that the student needs to help get them through a semester. The scholarship will not be given as a payment to the college, but as American Express cards in the amount of the scholarship. This will help the student practically and they can be used immediately.

We’ve tried to make it simple. The candidate should have decent grades and of course a bleeding disorder, but what we are really looking for is someone with compassion and initiative, someone with solid volunteer experience.

This is important because it reflects the values of the young man we seek to honor through this scholarship, Alex Leiber of Texas. Alex was only 16 when he was struck with bacterial meningitis. He died on December 21, 2003, just four days before Christmas. Within just 48 hours, he was gone, leaving behind a heart-broken family and many friends who have kept his memory alive. You can read about Alex and what a remarkable young man he was on the scholarship page. Stories about Alex were actually submitted by his mom Tammy to me when he was just a child, for the first edition of my book Raising a Child with Hemophilia, back in 1990. Like everyone, I was devastated to hear we had lost him.

We are so proud to be able to offer this scholarship to honor Alex, and thank Tammy and Jim Lieber for allowing us this privilege. The Alex Lieber Memorial Scholarship is offering two $1,000 scholarships. Persons with hemophilia or von Willebrand disease accepted to an accredited college, university, or vocational/technical school can apply. Candidates must be able to demonstrate a strong record of volunteer service.

The deadline is April 1, 2010. You can apply here:

We hope to hear from you! And God bless Alex and his family, now and always.

Interesting Book I Just Read
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

This is an intriguing fiction, about a mute child growing up in a Wisconsin family that breeds dogs, dogs so well matched genetically and trained that they command premium prices. The story is about love and disappointment, family members and dashed expectations, and loss. Much loss. Edgar’s muteness gives him a special bond with his dogs, which he learns to train. The father and mother love Edgar, and their dogs. But tragedy strikes when Edgar’s beloved father dies suddenly. And herein lies the trouble for me… the book, so lyrically written, with such amazing prose, and imagery that will have you even put the book down and wonder how someone could write like that… just seems to then take a Hollywood cookie-cutter approach. I suddenly saw this story, which spends an awful lot of time with tremendously detailed background about dog breeding, and the family’s own roots and members, and presents deep psychology, become, well, like a screenplay. A whodunit.

And there are multiple comparisons that could be made to the Jungle Book (both Wroblewski’s and my favorite childhood book) and Hamlet. Well, is it Mowgli or Hamlet? Pretty different comparisons. There are even allusions to Colton Harris-Moore, the barefoot burgler kid of Camano Island (the one who steals planes). Some characters are just not explained well at all. Others, like the amazing character of Almondine the dog, are brilliant and consistent. The book is over 500 pages, not an easy read for most, and after I realized it was going to be a whodnit with a denouement that I can just see up on the big screen, it kind of lost its charm for me. I found myself just flipping pages fast to get through it. (And let it be known I devoured every page of Moby-Dick) The writing, however, is superb. I know this is a good book (rave reviews from most critics), but despite the masterful imagery, and an unforgettable central character in Edgar, I just saw a sell out somehow; it started so fresh and wondrously creative, then kind of nosedived into this ridiculous Columbo-style plot (although Columbo was better). The ending is unbelievably depressing. But it’s still worth a read. Two stars.

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