College of Coastal Georgia News

College, health system create scholarship to honor Emiko Diaz
Posted 10/17/2018 01:12PM

By Lauren McDonald lmcdonald@thebrunswicknews.com

Oct 17, 2018

The College of Coastal Georgia and Southeast Georgia Health System sign papers to announce the new Southeast Georgia Health System Emiko Diaz Scholarship Fund.

Lee McKinley, standing from left, associate professor of health informatics; Skip Mounts, dean of the college's School of Business and Public Management; Janeen Kluska, Emiko Diaz's mother; Michelle Johnston, sitting from left, president of the college; and Michael Scherneck, president and CEO of the Southeast Georgia Health System, sign papers to announce the new Southeast Georgia Health System Emiko Diaz Scholarship Fund. (Photo by Lauren McDonald).

Emiko Diaz was driven and dedicated, always working hard toward the goals she'd set for herself.

Diaz graduated from the College of Coastal Georgia with a degree in health informatics, and she earned her degree in four years while also caring for her daughter at home.

Her dreams for which she worked hard were halted too early. Shortly after graduating from the college, Diaz was shot and killed by her husband, who then turned the gun on himself. Their daughter, who was six at the time, was wounded but survived.

Diaz's memory, though, will live on through a new scholarship fund announced Tuesday at a ceremony at the college.

Coastal Georgia has partnered with the local hospital to establish the new Southeast Georgia Health System Emiko Diaz Scholarship Fund.

"I just want to thank the hospital and thank the college, because Emiko loved the college," said her mom, Janeen Kluska, at the ceremony, which was attended by Diaz's family, hospital representatives and college faculty, students and alumni. "She loved her instructors, and she loved the health informatics program."

Diaz embodied hope, said Skip Mounts, dean of the college's School of Business and Public Management.

The new scholarship will carry that hope on, he said.

"While we memorialize the name of Emiko Diaz in the scholarship, we are memorializing the hope that she had and the students who receive this scholarship can have," said Mounts, who once served as Diaz's advisor. "So it is a good day because we get to celebrate the hope."

As a student at the college, Diaz quickly became an involved member of the campus community.

"That girl was dedicated and driven, and boy, she could communicate," said Lee McKinley, an associate professor of health informatics at the college. "She'd talk your ears off, and she came to my office frequently ... I've been in education for over 20 years, and she definitely had made her mark on me quickly."

Diaz's legacy will get to continue through the scholarship, Kluska said.

"She made us all proud," Kluska said. "I never thought that she would be able to go straight through and get a four-year degree, being married and having a baby. But she did it. She surprised even her mom and the rest of her family ... She had a lot of energy, a lot of drive, a lot of dedication."

The first recipients of the scholarship will likely be named next fall. The scholarship, which is being funded by the Southeast Georgia Health System, will be at least $1,000, McKinley said.

"This scholarship can be something that can be sustaining and that she is able to live through," said Michelle Johnston, president of Coastal Georgia.


Republished with the permission of The Brunswick News. Originally published at The Brunswick News.

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