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Brooks-TLC Hospital System (BTLC) staff members, Laura Braxton and Sydney Swan, have been selected as recipients of the 2020 Dr. Raja S. Gopalan Registered Nursing Scholarship through the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation (NCCF).  The $500 scholarship was generously endowed by Dr. Gopalan for BTLC employees working toward their registered nursing degree.

Laura Braxton, PCA

Sydney Swan, PCA

Laura Braxton lives with her husband and two children in Dunkirk and is currently a full-time Personal Care Aide (PCA) in the medical surgical (med/surg) unit.  A 2005 graduate of SUNY Fredonia with a BA in Theatre, she is currently in her second semester of the nursing program at Jamestown Community College (JCC).  Laura juggles working full time and attending school while caring for two young children.  Upon graduation, she is interested in working in the obstetrics or emergency department.

Sydney Swan is a Fredonia native in her final semester of the nursing program at St. John Fisher College, Rochester, and works as a student nurse PCA.  In this unique role, she floats among departments and works directly with more experienced mentor nurses on a per diem basis.  The hospital accommodates her schedule when she returns home during school breaks.  Sydney has already been offered and has accepted a full-time position in the med/surg department upon her graduation in June.

Motivation, work ethic and letters of recommendation are the criteria used in award selection.  “Both Laura and Sydney are highly motivated and conscientious about their work,” states Brian Pitts, director of acute care nursing.  He added, “On behalf of the hospital, we congratulate both of these dedicated women for receiving this honor.”

Established with NCCF in 2011, to date, this fund has awarded seven scholarships totaling $14,000. Dr. Gopalan, a retired local surgeon with a career spanning over 40 years, began the scholarship to encourage clinical skills combined with compassion for better healthcare in our community.

NCCF is now accepting applications for the 2021 Dr. Raja S. Gopalan Registered Nursing Scholarship.  Family members of BTLC employees are also eligible to apply.  To learn more about this scholarship and others available through NCCF, visit

For information about PCA student nursing and other jobs at Brook-TLC Hospital System, visit or call 716-363-7262.