AMTA Scholarship Recipients

Read about our past scholarship recipients.

Canteshia Sweeny

Canteshia Sweeny

2021 AMTA $5,000 Summer Scholarship

Canteshia Sweeney is currently attending Zion Massage College of Saint George, Utah. She anticipates graduating in March 2022.

After graduating, passing the mBLEx, and becoming Board Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, Canteshia will work as an LMT in the local spa industry for about a year while also completing continuing education by becoming a Medical Massage Practitioner and getting certified in both Craniosacral Therapy and Manual Lymphatic Drainage. Her end goal is to have her own private practice where she will work closely with her clients’ medical team (Physicians, Surgeons, Psychiatrists, Physical Therapists, etc.) to help them live joyous, healthy fulfilling lives.

"Touch is a fundamental human need.  Without physical contact, human babies do not survive, even with adequate nutrition and shelter. I believe that giving and receiving therapeutic touch through massage and bodywork is extremely important for overall physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. It is my desire to help enlighten the minds of insurance providers and healthcare providers to encourage them to see that massage therapy is a crucial form of preventative self-care and a valid form of treatment for many diseases of the mind and body."


Thais Diehl

Thais Diehl

2021 Rick Boden Healer at Heart $10,000 Scholarship

Thais Diehl attends the National Holistic Institute in Emeryville, CA. She anticipates graduating in early 2022.

After graduating, Thais would like to work with a Chiropractor to gain more experience with injury rehabilitation, and an Acupuncturist to hone in on working with the meridian system of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Eventually, she plans to go into private practice where her work will focus on helping clients find greater comfort, ease and awareness in their bodies and minds while bringing more recognition to their own self-healing potential.

"Pursuing a career as a massage therapist means honoring who I am, who I’ve always been, and what I have to offer to support people as we evolve into our greater world version. As Clarissa Pinkola Estes put it, “We do not become healers. We came as healers. We are. Some of us are still catching up to what we are.” This is who I am and who I’ve always been: constantly learning, developing, and refining my skills so that I can best awaken the innate healing capacity within each being with whom I am blessed to help."

AMTA is proud to sponsor the Rick Boden Healer at Heart Scholarship in collaboration with Massage Envy Franchising, LLC.  

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Chelsea Vanderbeek

Chelsea Vanderbeek

2021 AMTA $5,000 Student Scholarship

Chelsea Vanderbeek is graduating from National Holistic Institute in Santa Ana, CA. Her anticipated graduation is in Jan 2022.

After graduating, Chelsea is planning to open a private practice. She plans to do a combo style of massage therapy that incorporates lymphatic, myofascial, and trigger point that she learned from a massage therapy mentor and in school. Her goal is to help athletes with injuries heal more quickly and continue doing what they love. She also will be assisting those with chronic illnesses such as Fibromyalgia, or who have serious injuries such as spinal degeneration.

"Massage therapy has changed my life. While still in high school, I had 4 major surgeries that stopped me from playing sports, and eventually, I developed Fibromyalgia. Since then, I’ve met different massage therapists who have helped heal me to the point where I can live a relatively normal life. I understand how wrenching a serious injury can be to an athlete, or how agonizing developing a chronic illness can be. I feel a calling to help those in similar situations find healing, and be able to go back to what they love doing. Thank you AMTA for helping me on my path to accomplish my calling in life."


Thomas Reeve

2020 AMTA $5,000 Bob King Scholarship

Thomas Reeve of the San Francisco School of Massage and Bodywork in San Francisco, CA is the recipient of the 2020 AMTA Bob King Scholarship.

After graduating in the Fall of 2021, Thomas plans to pursue geriatric massage, lymphatic massage serving folks living with (and post) cancer, and his own private practice to offer a safe space for those less often served by massage - such as queer and transgender folks, people of color, folks with neurodiversities, and folks with marginalized body types.

"I am passionate about providing healing touch to communities where safe, respectful, and rejuvenating touch is often lacking or inaccessible. I feel called to work in massage because of my own journey in learning to embrace my body as a transgender man, as well as my belief that none of us can truly be at peace until we find comfort and safety within our own individual bodies. My ultimate goal in becoming a massage therapist is to offer those less often served by massage the chance to experience transformation and connection through safe and healing touch.."


Catherine Braxton

2020 Massage Therapy Journal $5,000 Scholarship

Catherine Braxton of East West College of the Healing Arts in Portland, OR is the recipient of the 2020 AMTA Massage Therapy Journal Scholarship.

Catherine is a certified Full-Spectrum Doula. She will continue to offer Doula Services with additional Massage & Craniosacral Therapy options and plans to work as part of the team at Be Abundant Bodywork located in Portland, Oregon.

“My goal in living has always been to provide healing spaces for folx living with trauma. I am a survivor of Sexual Violence, Trauma, and Domestic Abuse. I came to yoga & body movement as a healing practice through the world of dance. My journey began purely with wanting to heal myself. Through the years, as I deepened my knowledge and practice of movement, rituals, and education to heal, I discovered my passion for supporting others in their healing journey as well. These eclectic experiences from my life paired with my education, and career, informs the healing work I provide and allows me to connect with folx in a way that is so necessary in the world of healing among BIPOC (Black, Indigenous People of Color)."


Danielle Hill

2020 Massage Therapy Journal $5,000 Scholarship

Danielle Hill of Asheville School of Massage & Yoga in Asheville, NC is the recipient of the 2020 AMTA Massage Therapy Journal Scholarship.

Danielle plans to work as an independent contractor at a locally owned studio in Asheville, NC as she furthers her education in CranioSacral Therapy and trauma healing. In the future, she would like to open her own studio in western North Carolina.

“I believe that our society has a lot of healing to do when it comes to letting go of the repeated stories and narratives we tell ourselves. I hope to address many of our societal issues, from a somatic standpoint. I recognize the lack of accessibility to preventive healthcare, and will continue to do the work that is required to shift access to bodywork from being a privilege to a right."


Jamie Yungandreas

2019 AMTA $5,000 Bob King Scholarship

Jamie Yungandreas of American College Massage School in Crown Point, IN is the recipient of the 2019 AMTA Bob King Scholarship.

After graduating, Jamie plans to work for Therapeutic Indulgence, a health and wellness center located in South Bend, IN.

"Over the course of the next year, I plan to take continuing education courses in craniosacral, manual lymphatic drainage, and ACE Massage Cupping so that I can better serve my community."


Allie Garrett

Allie Garrett

2019 AMTA $2,500 Summer Scholarship

Allie Garrett of Bodyworks Massage Institute in Evansville, IN is the recipient of the 2019 AMTA Summer Scholarship!

After graduation, Allie plans to open her own therapeutic massage clinic.

"To put it simply, I can't 'un-know' all of the wonderful benefits of therapeutic massage and therefore couldn't not bring it to the Western Kentucky region. I am so excited to witness lives changed by way of therapeutic massage and am honored God is allowing me to be a part of it!  Without this scholarship, I would have struggled greatly financially to complete the massage therapy program.  I stepped out in faith in the beginning honestly not knowing how I would pay for school, but trusting that there was a need in my community I was willing to meet and trusting that by doing the right thing to meet that need, I, my family and our finances would be taken care of in the process.  I am so incredibly honored and thankful to have been chosen as the AMTA Summer Scholarship Recipient!"


Sarah Casey

Sara Casey

2019 Rick Boden Healer at Heart $10,000 Scholarship

Sarah Casey of Denver Integrative Massage School is the recipient of the 2019 Rick Boden Healer at Heart $10,000 Scholarship.

After completing massage school, Sarah plans to pursue a six-month doula mentorship and an advanced certification program in prenatal, birth and postpartum massage. She hopes to one day open a massage therapy practice for expecting and new mothers. 

“My impassioned intention as a massage therapist and doula is for women to feel completely heard and supported through this transformative experience, because their health and happiness is my priority in and of itself, and because the individuals they are bringing earthside will inherently prosper from it…I have so many plans for the years following my training as a massage therapist and doula, and with this scholarship I will be able to finish school in half the time and I will not have to put as much energy into waitressing to pay back loans after school, which makes actualizing these plans that much more perceivable and enlivening.  Thank you so very much for your support. “

AMTA is proud to sponsor the Rick Boden Healer at Heart Scholarship in collaboration with Massage Envy Franchising, LLC.  

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Olivia Loehr

Olivia Loehr

2019 AMTA Massage Therapy Journal Scholarship Recipient

Olivia Loehr of Lauterstein-Conway Massage School in Austin, TX is the recipient of the 2019 Massage Therapy Journal Scholarship.

Olivia is passionate about community and reproductive health, community-driven wellness initiatives and caregiving. She plans to continue a career in public health, with a focus on improving quality of life for those living with chronic pain, specifically within low-income communities. She is excited to integrate massage therapy into her life and mission.


Jessica Newton

2018 AMTA Bob King Scholarship Recipient

Jessica Newton of Lexington Healing Arts Academy is the recipient of the 2018 Bob King $5,000 AMTA Massage Therapy Student Scholarship!

Upon graduation and licensing, Jessica plans to continue her education in hospital-based massage therapy and light-touch modalities. She also wants to volunteer her time and skills to provide therapeutic massage to the military community. Her ultimate goal is to become involved in education and research for massage as part of integrative care for chronic pain and trauma-related disorders.


Mai Kaw Xiong

2018 AMTA Summer Scholarship Recipient

Mai Kaw Xiong of the Aveda Institute Madison is the recipient of the 2018 AMTA Summer Scholarship!

Once licensed, she plans to work in health care. She is a proud advocate of AMTA and looks forward to her continued growth in the field of massage therapy.

"The scholarship has helped me remove the burden of finances and unlock my passion in this field of work...Thank you AMTA for giving me a second chance with my story and more hope to push ahead."


Apply Now for the $5,000 Bob King Scholarship!

How do I apply?

Applying is easy. Simply fill out your information and, in a few sentences, share why you want to be a massage therapist.

Applicants must be enrolled or admitted in a 500-hour minimum entry-level massage therapy program at the time the scholarship application is submitted.

Apply online now »

Applications are due November 30, 2020. The recipient will be announced in January 2021 on this page.

Questions about the requirements or application process? 
Please contact scholarships@amtamassage.org or call 1.877.905.2700.