Students Get $20-K Scholarships from Hanger for P & O Master's Program!

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ASU's Taushima Nixon is one of two Master's program students to each win a $20,000 scholarship from Hanger (photo contributed).

National $20-K Scholarship Awarded to ASU Prosthetics & Orthotics Students 

By: Kenneth Mullinax/ASU 

Two students in Alabama State University’s Masters of Science in Prosthetics and Orthotics (MSPO) program have each been awarded $20,000 scholarships from the Hanger Foundation's Diversity Scholarships program. Taushima Nixon and Kayla Tillman were selected from students nationwide to receive the scholarships that also includes a two-year mentorship with an option of pursuing an 18-month residency with Hanger Clinic after they graduate. 

The Texas-based Hanger Corporation is one of the nation's preeminent innovators and manufacturers of prosthetics and orthotics devices and services. 

"Both Taushima Nixon and Kayla Tillman demonstrated a unique perspective and acute awareness of this representation gap and what it means for a significant portion of our patient population. We are happy to have them begin our program this fall and engage in relevant conversations throughout our curriculum," said Professor Scott Bretl, program director and chair of the Department of Prosthetics and Orthotics in the University's College of Health Sciences. "The ASU Prosthetics & Orthotics master’s program is among only three in the country to engage with the Hanger Foundation in the inaugural year of this scholarship. As the only HBCU with a P & O program, ASU plays a crucial role in addressing the lack of diversity among certified practitioners in the field. We are excited that the scholarship will support two African-American women in their educational pathway towards clinical practice.” 


Data shows that certified practitioners in the field of P & O are not quantitatively very diverse nor inclusive. Currently only about 25 percent of the nation’s P & O professionals are female, and only about two percent are African-American. This lack of diversity is the reason that the Hanger Corporation is funding its foundation's scholarship program to build a bridge for more minorities to enter the profession. The overall goal is to have a positive impact on improving disparities and providing inclusive patient care. 


Both of ASU's winners have impressive credentials as scholars and their backgrounds show a desire to help others. 

A member of the University’s class of 2021, Tillman earned a bio-medical degree from ASU where she was a standout soccer player. The Mulberry, Fla., native explained that winning this scholarship lifted a great burden. 

"When I learned that I won the Hanger scholarship, a great relief overcame me because this award helps pay for my tuition over my five semester's in ASU's master's program, allowing me to get my degree without having any sizable student debt to pay for afterwards," said Tillman. "I chose to go to graduate school here because ASU feels like being with my family. There are no overcrowded classrooms; you get to know people better and that all translates into a better education," she explained. 

Upon earning her master’s degree, the 21 year-old Tillman desires to enter the pediatric branch of the profession because of her wish to help enrich the lives of children. 

Nixon has a unique perspective to offer her future patients who may need artificial limbs. A double-amputee herself, Nixon feels her personal experiences will allow her to serve others with a greater degree of knowledge and compassion.  

"When I was told that I won the Hanger scholarship that will help pay for my master's program studies at Alabama State University, I felt blessed, grateful, happy and overjoyed because everything that I have worked so hard for is finally coming through for me," said Nixon, over the phone from Georgia. "I am not only about to learn a formal education about Prosthetics & Orthotics, but I have also lived it since I was involved in a horrific car accident that had me losing parts of both of my legs. With my ASU degree, I want to one-day open my own P & O company to help others with the loss of limbs,” Nixon added. 

The native of Williamston, N.C., explained why she chose Alabama State University after having been offered places in several other schools’ master's programs. 

"I chose ASU because it offers a great education, but also because it offers me a close-knit family feel. Also, importantly to me, it is an HBCU, which will allow me to further be educated within my community," Nixon stated.


Hanger is a $1 billion annual revenue publicly-traded company (NYSE: HNGR) with nearly 5,000 employees collaborating to fulfill a shared purpose of empowering human potential together for people needing prosthetics and orthotics assistance. Founded nearly 160 years ago, it is known worldwide for its clinical excellence and innovation. The Austin, Texas-based Hanger team is acclaimed for providing compassionate, expert care and customized solutions to improve the lives of millions of people with amputations, limb deficiencies, neuromuscular disorders, and other musculoskeletal anomalies. 

News media contact: Kenneth Mullinax, 334-229-4104.