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Olivia with Dr. Wood

Olivia Jacob's is well known at WakeMed. Previously featured for her "Will to Win" despite injury, she beat the odds and continued as an incredible high school athlete — thanks to orthopaedic surgeon Mark Wood, MD, and team. 

Now, here she is again — winning — this time as the recipient of the highly prestigious Megan Champ Morgan Scholarship — an honor bestowed on exceptional young people who show promise. Eighteen-year-old Olivia, will graduate this June 2024 from Garner Magnet High School and move on to Wake Forest University, where she plans to major in engineering and complete all required pre-med undergraduate courses to prepare for medical school. Her ultimate goal is to follow in Dr. Mark Wood's footsteps and become an orthopaedic surgeon. 

Olivia with Dr. Wood 2

About the Megan Champ Morgan Scholarship

The Megan Champ Morgan Scholarship, available through the WakeMed Foundation, is awarded to employee dependents seeking to complete post-secondary education at an accredited not-for-profit institution of higher learning who intend to enroll in one of the following areas: Health Sciences, Elementary or Secondary Education, Computer Sciences or Information Technology. 

Olivia and Yvette with Mr. Champ and President

Megan Champ Morgan is the daughter of prior WakeMed President and CEO, Ray Champ and his wife Meredyth Champ. At just 45-years-old, Megan Champ Morgan passed away. In her short time on earth, she left a lasting legacy of generosity and community leadership, while building a career in the banking and financial industry after graduating from Meredith College.

Olivia's High School Initiatives

Olivia Jacobs embodies Megan's spirit of benevolence. She, too, has sought out the needs within her community and then became the change. For this reason, she chose a career in medicine — at the heart of which is aiding people in crisis. 

Yvette Jacobs, Olivia's mom says, "Going through her injuries and having the support of her surgical and rehabilitation team really made an impression on her. She was very encouraged by their support."

Olivia adds, "Being cared for by Dr. Wood and the orthopaedic and rehab teams definitely left an imprint along with my other experiences and desires to see change."

And, when it comes to seeing change, Olivia believes that it is up to her to make the change she wishes to see. 

At just 15 years old in tenth grade, Olivia launched an initiative to care for the homeless. She asked family and friends to donate money toward stocking care packages for unhoused people within the Raleigh area. Each package contained toothpaste, a toothbrush, a blanket, socks and non-perishable snacks.

"I am very passionate about this because as my mom and I would regularly drive through an area densely populated with homeless people, we would see a lot of people in need."

several prepared bags

items in bag for homeless


Moreover, Olivia serves her school, holding offices that effect positive change, not just among the student body, but also within the greater community. She serves as the Beta Club President and Student Council Projects Director. The spirit of these entities boast promotion of student leadership, achievement and character. A few of her projects included Miracle League where she played softball with special needs children; community park cleanups and elementary school volunteer work. 

Olivia also has a great deal of interest in psychiatry. In recent months, she launched a program called "Empower Minds" to encourage athletes to seek support for their mental health. 

Yvette explains, "Olivia has noticed athletics require mental toughness because there's a lot that goes on outside of performance on the court. Her goal is to offer mental support for athletes going through injuries or mental blocks, keeping them from maximizing their potential."

Olivia agrees, "So, Empower Minds is meant to inspire and empower other student athletes to seek mental health resources when they need the extra support."

empowerminds logo

Additionally, Olivia participated in Summer Ventures when she was a 16-year-old, rising 11th grader. 

This four-week, no-cost, state-funded program takes place at North Carolina universities. It is for North Carolina students who are academically talented and aspire to careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. 

Olivia recalls, "I was paired with the neuroscience director of East Carolina University, and we studied fetal alcohol syndrome in rats. I enjoyed experimental research opportunities and developed skills that helped me decide to go into the medical field, conduct research and become a surgeon."

Selection for the Megan Champ Morgan Scholarship

Olivia initially learned about the Megan Champ Morgan Scholarship through her mom, Yvette. 

"I decided to apply because my mom was telling me about it. Then I read about it. Megan Champ's values really spoke to me as I am someone who loves to serve my community."

Olivia submitted her application with the required essay, and Yvette verified that she had the proper qualifications for her daughter to be considered. Within a few months, she was scheduled for an interview. 

"The interview process was definitely a nervous moment. It was a large scholarship, and when I walked into the room, there were six or seven people waiting to interview me," Olivia remembers. "They introduced themselves and were really kind. Some were doctors at WakeMed. Others were retired. Some were family friends of Megan Champ. As I began to share my passion, I could feel myself connecting with the interviewers. Listening to them share about Megan's service and how much she was a pillar of the community, I realized the extent to which we demonstrated the same core values."

Days later, they received an email that Olivia had won the scholarship. 

Olivia and her family

Olivia and her family were overjoyed for the news.

"It will bridge the gap between paying for college," Olivia shares, "and will help me focus on doing research and continuing to develop my community service initiatives.

"To the Champ family, I want to say 'Thank you. It means so much to honor Megan Champ Morgan's legacy, values and everything that she stood for. It all speaks dearly to my heart."

Olivia Jacobs

About the WakeMed Foundation

For over 60 years, the extraordinary care that WakeMed provides has inspired countless donors to invest in our vision to serve all those that need us.

From new facilities, innovative health programs, and meeting the needs of our patients and staff, philanthropy plays an important role in supporting WakeMed's mission.

You can make a tremendous difference with your support! Give now.

WakeMed Foundation