Elant Offers Scholarships to Two Standout Interns

SUNY-Orange graduates receive $250 to apply toward tuition, student loans

GOSHEN, N.Y. (June 28, 2013) Elant, the Hudson Valley’s leading provider of senior health care and housing solutions, has awarded two of its student interns $250 scholarships to reflect the hard work and dedication they displayed while performing fieldwork at the organization’s facilities.


The funding, provided as part of the Elant-SUNY Orange Community Partnership Scholarship, was awarded to Rachel Skinner of Minisink and David Melchionne of Wurstboro. Both are graduates of SUNY Orange and are preparing to take the National Board Certification for Occupational Therapy exam. The scholarship usually goes to just one intern, but this semester, Elant felt that two individuals deserved the award.


“We are very pleased to offer these scholarships to David and Rachel, as they did a fantastic job as interns for us,” said Donna Frazier, Corporate Rehabilitation Director for Elant and an adjunct professor at SUNY-Orange. “Although we had nine outstanding interns with us this past semester, we felt that these two young professionals really stood out. We wish David and Rachel the best of luck on their board exams, and know that they’ll both make great occupational therapy assistants.”


Under the leadership of Flo Hannes, Chairperson of the SUNY Orange Occupational Therapy Assistant program and Director of the college’s Center for Assistive and Rehabilitation Technology, the college’s Community Connections program expands and enhances the educational experience of students enrolled in the Occupational Therapy Assistant program. The program also works to develop partnerships with organizations like Elant who are willing to serve as fieldwork sites for clinical internships and to develop programs that respond to community needs and emerging areas of practice.

Elant works with interns year-round from colleges and universities across the U.S., and now has 11 students working with residents over the summer. Students who are striving toward doctoral, master’s and associate’s degrees work closely with health care professionals at Elant as part of their training for occupational, speech or physical therapy.


Skinner, 20, made her mark on Elant at Fishkill by developing a portable indoor putting green, which allowed seniors to work on the dynamics of standing and maintaining balance. The exercise also gives residents the ability to develop better hand-eye coordination and extend their range of motion, while engaging in an activity that many of them have loved for years.


“Since I was a very young girl, I wanted to be able to help people,” said Skinner. “It was my first time ever working with the senior population and I am staying in this field because of my experiences at Elant.”


Melchionne, 24, interned at Elant at Goshen. He holds a bachelor’s degree in theater, but he felt that a hands-on career where he could impact lives was more attractive. When he met the Elant residents, he realized he was now on the right path.  Melchionne was part of the non-traditional therapy program that allows students to form close relationships with Elant residents as they complete their fieldwork. He developed activity programs to help fill residents’ downtime and created programs adapted to the unique needs and abilities of individuals.


“We were very proud of the work that Rachel and David performed at our facilities, which will have a positive impact on our residents for the long term,” said Frazier. “Our internships benefit not only students working toward a career in occupational therapy, but also our residents, who often get to form close bonds with interns and engage in fun and unique activities.”


Todd A. Whitney, President and CEO of Elant Inc., with scholarship winners David Melchionne (left) and Rachel Skinner (right).