The Amputee Coalition has announced that Christa Berry, 18, of Livermore, California is the recipient of the Christina Skoski, MD, Scholarship for 2016. Christa will be attending Mount Holyoke College, majoring in biology.
The Christina Skoski, MD, Scholarship provides a $1,000 scholarship to a full-time undergraduate student who has congenital limb difference or an amputation.
“We are so pleased to announce Christa as our Skoski Scholarship recipient,” said Susan Stout, president & CEO of the Amputee Coalition. “Her dedication to people with limb loss and her vision and aspirations for her future as a prosthetist embody what the scholarship is all about. Her academic, musical and technical accomplishments are an inspiration to all with limb loss. While we received many excellent applications, Christa’s stood out with her outstanding academic and extracurricular achievements, and with her clearly defined career goals.”
She graduated from Granada High School in June. Christa plans to attend graduate school after college, with the goal of becoming a prosthetist.
“I was born without my right foot, so I have worn a prosthetic leg my entire life,” said Christa. “Even when I was little, I was fascinated by the process of getting a prosthesis, which is part of why I want to be a prosthetist.”
An accomplished singer, Christa has sung in Cantabella Children’s Chorus, the local children’s choir, since second grade. In 2015, she competed in the Golden Gate International Choral Festival with the rest of Cantabella’s Chamber Choir. She called singing with choirs from all over the world “an amazing experience” and plans to join one of Mount Holyoke’s many choirs.
In addition to her musical accomplishments, Christa was a member of her high school’s Robotics Club during her junior and senior years. She said it was a valuable experience and she competed in VEX robotics tournaments, where they made it to the semifinals in one tournament.
Christa expressed her gratitude to the Amputee Coalition, saying, “I was honored and thrilled when I heard that I was the recipient of the Christina Skoski, MD, Scholarship. It will help pay for my education at Mount Holyoke. I look forward to a career as a prosthetist, where I can work with people who have limb loss. I particularly enjoy helping others to find ways to fulfill their potential.”
Life at Mount Holyoke will not only include academics. She has ridden horses for many years, and is particularly excited to try out for the varsity hunter/jumper equestrian team.
For years Christa attended Camp No Limits as a child, and she considers it a valuable experience.
“CNL is a camp where young amputees and their families can both meet other families with similar experiences and simply have fun,” said Christa. “In my first CNL ever, a support group helped me learn how to handle people staring at or asking questions about my prosthesis.”
Established by Christina Skoski, MD, a longtime supporter of the Amputee Coalition who has lived with a hemipelvectomy amputation due to cancer since the age of 16, the scholarship is awarded annually to high school seniors or college freshmen with limb loss/difference who demonstrate excellence in their scholarly pursuits. Recipients of the Christina Skoski, MD, Scholarship receive $1,000 toward the costs of attending a college or university. Past recipients include students currently enrolled at MIT, Harvard University and Johns Hopkins University.