Naomi Martin - Jim Seeley Memorial Scholarship Recipient 2020


“I was definitely gonna go to college no matter what, whether that meant taking out loans or not. But getting the Seeley scholarship has seriously helped me with that; I haven't had to take out any loans, so I've been very fortunate. I do still work part time, but the amount of workload it’s taken off of me has been amazing.”

—Naomi Martin, Jim Seeley Memorial Scholarship recipient

Born and raised in Bandon, Naomi Martin graduated from Bandon High School ready to pursue her dream of a career in medicine. “I've always known I wanted to go into the health field,” she says. Four years later, with help from the Jim Seeley Memorial Scholarship, Naomi has earned her degree in human physiology and is moving forward with plans to become a physician’s assistant.

The Keiser family, which owns Bandon Dunes, created this renewable, full-tuition scholarship in 2020 to honor Jim Seeley, the late executive director of Wild Rivers Coast Alliance (now known as Bandon Dunes Charitable Foundation). “He was a special person for many of us—an incredible mentor to have,” says current executive director Marie Simonds.

Each year, the Seeley scholarship goes to two high school students on the South Coast. For Naomi, the scholarship award came as a particular surprise. “I was home for winter break, and the Foundation wanted to Zoom me,” she recalls. “I had no idea what it was for! I didn’t realize I’d applied for the scholarship through OSAC, but someone else had won it and turned it down, and I was automatically put onto the list. It was pretty amazing!”

Naomi emphasizes that although the South Coast can be isolated and lack resources for youth, its tightly knit communities and committed school counselors make all the difference for students like her. “The sense of community in Bandon is really great,” she says, noting that Bandon High School staff — particularly academic adviser Erin Robertson and behavior specialist Mariah McMonagle — gave her essential support throughout the application process.

Especially for medical students, who are often saddled with tremendous student debt at a young age, the Seeley scholarship broadens possibilities and aspirations — including the option of staying local. Like every community along the Oregon coast, Bandon has a shortage of medical providers, and Naomi sees herself helping to change this. “I currently have my CNA license,” she says. “I got it last summer. After graduation, I will be moving back to Bandon and hopefully working as a CNA for the next couple of years while I'm gaining my clinical hours. And then after PA school, I feel like I would probably come back to Bandon.” Looking farther ahead, Naomi likes the idea of someday being able to extend a helping hand to other local youth by creating her own scholarship fund: “I just think it would be pretty amazing if I got to the point where I was successful enough to be in that position!”

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