Couple create graduate fund for American Indian students

A Greensboro couple are establishing a scholarship fund at UNCG that will provide aid to American Indian students who want to pursue graduate studies in nutrition or health education.

Their $5,000 gift establishes the Dr. Ronny A. and Natalie Priest Bell Scholarship, to benefit graduate students in UNCG’s School of Health and Human Sciences, with a preference to students in the Department of Nutrition. The couple has been providing annual scholarship funding for several years.

The Bells both earned master’s degrees in nutrition from UNCG in 1988, and Ronny Bell went on the complete his PhD in nutrition in 1993. He received the 2009 Distinguished Alumnus of the then-School of Human Environmental Sciences. Both serve on UNCG’s Board of Visitors.

Natalie Bell is a retired teacher and coach at Caldwell Academy. Ronny Bell is currently a professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and has been serving as director of the Maya Angelou Research Center for Health Equity. A registered member of the Lumbee tribe, he was named to the North Carolina American Indian Health Board.

The Bells want students who come from an American Indian background to have precedence for their scholarship, especially if the students are Lumbee Indians. Students who want to work with American Indian populations or who plan to do research on health disparities can also be considered.

“Natalie and I are honored to be UNCG graduates and to have this opportunity to give back to our alma mater,” he said. “We are especially interested in supporting students who are underrepresented in graduate education and in the healthcare workforce,” said Bell.

By Steve Gilliam