The 2005 Scholarship Winners

Each spring MASSAGE Magazine awards five $1,000 scholarships to deserving students of massage or touch therapy, as a way of contributing to our world’s healthy future. Find out more about our scholarship program.

Jennifer Nelson
School of Massage Therapy
Piscataway, New Jersey

Jennifer Nelson was healthy and active, until diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia in 2001. She then found herself visiting one physician after another, trying to find relief from muscle-and-joint pain, neurological impairment, anxiety and headaches.

One day she decided to treat herself to a massage, “something that I had always enjoyed as a pampering in the past,” she says. She felt better after the session, so she began receiving massage regularly. That combined with exercise, a balanced diet and some additional physician visits has led to her living virtually symptom-free today. The benefits she derived from massage led her to enroll in massage school.

After graduating, Nelson plans to work in the areas of pain management and rehabilitation. She says, “I would like to see the many people who suffer with pain every day learn about the methods that they can use to help their bodies heal and take the responsibility of their health into their own hands.”

Kim Larsen
Mt. Shasta Institute
of Holistic Therapies
Mt. Shasta, California

A self-described “natural helper and nurturer,” Kim Larsen is a single mother of three and has worked as a special-needs instructional aid for 10 years. She believes that massage is an important approach to living a holistic lifestyle, and adds, “This may become a lucrative occupation, but more essential to me is that it constitutes right livelihood and embraces an overall joyfulness.”

With her background in special-needs education, focusing her future practice on this client population is a natural fit for Larsen. “I would like to be an advocate for the healing power of massage, by designing workshops for educators and the family members of these students,” she says. “Family members will be invited to practice these applications at home.”

Kelly Kempter
Irene’s Myomassology Institute
Southfield, Michigan

A gymnast and dancer by training, Kelly Kempter was a student in the dance department at a New York City’s Hunter College when she felt the first twinges of sciatic pain. Through connective-tissue work, and postural and movement retraining, Kempter literally learned a new way to walk and move. Now she wants to become a massage therapist to help others increase their knowledge of body awareness.

“We all have the responsibility to tend our corner of the global garden, and I am doing that through the practice of massage,” she says. “We should never underestimate the infinite effects of a loving touch.”

Sarah Furtek
Brenneke School of Massage
Seattle, Washington

Sarah Furtek has been on a self-propelled trajectory toward a massage career ever since high school, when she received a session. “It was an amazing experience—and I immediately began looking into massage schools, collecting information videos, booklets and [school] applications,” she says.

Today Furtek is fulfilling her dream by attending Brenneke School of Massage. Upon graduation she plans to focus on women’s health, combining massage, her ability to speak Spanish and her background as a doula (birth coach) into one career.

“My hope is to work at a local low-income clinic,” she says, “providing bodywork and support to underserved women in order to help them feel relaxed and safe and also connected to their changing bodies as they go through pregnancy.”

Dawn Bennett
Moscow School of Massage
Moscow, Idaho
When her now-deceased, disabled daughter, Megann, was one year old, Dawn Bennett began massaging her. Now she volunteers for an organization, Families Together of the Palouse, that supports and educates families with disabled children. Thanks to Bennett, members can visit a “quiet room” to receive a foot-and-hand massage.

After she graduates, Bennett plans to work with Alzheimer’s patients, and is also interested in opening a wellness center. She says her future will be informed by her past experience with Megann. “Her short life was filled with pain and stress for her and me. I learned about massage and self-care … and I knew that I could help others,” she says. “It is my goal to be an advocate for massage to those who need touch and compassion most.”