News | Published April 23, 2019

Honoring the dedication of Mount Nittany Health volunteers

L-R: Meredith Thompson, director, volunteer services, Mount Nittany Health; Suzanne C. DeTuerk Teen Volunteer Scholarship Award winners, Supriya Kumar, Kelly Vanden and Ellie Kim; and Kathleen Rhine, president and CEO, Mount Nittany Health, at this year’s Mount Nittany Health Volunteer Recognition Luncheon on April 18.

On Thursday, April 18, Mount Nittany Health hosted its annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon honoring the 651 individuals who provide more than 51,550 hours of service, in a number of patient-related and ancillary capacities across the system each year.

“Our volunteers’ dedication is contagious. They are motivated by the beat of their hearts, which is something we should all strive for,” says Meredith Thompson, director, volunteer resources, Mount Nittany Health. “They each bring a sense of calm at just the right moment. Sometimes, it’s just seeing one of them that makes everything seem ok.”

In addition to honoring all volunteers, a special aspect of this event is the announcement of teen volunteer scholarship recipients. To receive the prestigious Suzanne C. DeTuerk Teen Volunteer Scholarship Award, students must be graduating in 2019 from a local high school, must have completed a minimum of 200 hours of distinguished volunteer service with Mount Nittany Health, and must be pursuing a career in healthcare from an accredited institution. The award is made possible by a lead gift to the scholarship fund, forming an endowment, from Jim DeTuerk, in honor of his late wife, Suzanne.

This year’s winners are Ellie Kim, Supriya Kumar and Kelly Vanden.

Ellie Kim has been volunteering since August 2015, logging 218 hours, to date. Currently a volunteer at the Nittany Grill, Kim will be pursuing a dual degree in biochemistry and molecular biology at The Pennsylvania State University Schreyer Honors College. Kim says her experiences as a Medical Center volunteer shaped her desire to pursue post-secondary education to earn the skills necessary to improve people’s health and wellbeing.

Logging 248 hours to date, Supriya Kumar has been volunteering on patient floors and at the Nittany Grill since January 2016. Kumar’s experience with volunteering at the Medical Center has strengthened and confirmed her growing passion for both volunteering and healthcare. She plans to major in biochemistry and molecular biology at The Pennsylvania State University Eberly College of Science.

Kelly Vanden began volunteering at the Medical Center in December 2016. Having logged 212 hours to date, Vanden says that whether it’s displaying hospitality towards gift shop customers, preparing gifts/flowers for loved ones or just having a friendly conversation with an employee, it is rewarding to see how much her volunteer service can brighten someone’s day. Vanden plans to attend The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill this fall where she will major in biology.

Mount Nittany Health commends these young students and all volunteers for their dedication and service, proving that Mount Nittany Health’s people are what make it a special place.

For more information about volunteer services at Mount Nittany Health, please visit