March 2, 2023
Massage Therapy Technology students at Pearl River Community College were surprised with $200 scholarships from The Sunray Companies. The scholarships will help students with tuition and other expenses while pursuing either a one-year certificate or a two-year Associate of Applied Science degree.
“We are extremely grateful for the support that Massage Envy and The Sunray Company have provided through student scholarships,” said Delana Harris, Executive Director of Development Foundation & Alumni Services at PRCC. “Foundation scholarships help students with additional cost to attend college and are a critical part in the enrollment and retention process.
“Our goal at PRCC is not to simply enroll students but to assist and retain students until they earn a degree, certificate, or credential. Students completing programs and earning credentials are essential to economic and community development within our six counties. The Foundation and PRCC look forward to continuing to work with Massage Envy and grow our partnership.”
Massage Therapy students take courses emphasizing massage therapy principles, ethics, business application, pathology, anatomy and physiology, technique modalities and kinesiology. The knowledge and skills learned in class are then used to treat clients by using touch to manipulate the muscles and other soft tissues of the body. Massage therapy can relieve pain, help heal injuries, improve circulation, relieve stress, increase relaxation, and aid in the general wellness of clients.
PRCC added the Massage Therapy program in 2021, with the first graduating class in the summer of 2022. It is a 12-month/720-hour program that meets Monday through Thursday on the Forrest County Campus. Shannon Busby serves as the program instructor. Currently, there are 11 students in the program.
“We work hard to support all of our massage therapy programs and are thankful that we have several community colleges in Mississippi who understand the importance of the benefit of massage therapy and careers tied to that,” said Amber Sukhbaatar, Vice President of Culture and Marketing for Sunray Companies. “We’ve helped support those programs; to help encourage and launch them, like here at PRCC.
“The next logical step to support them is through scholarships. If the students find it helpful, we would like to continue scholarship support in the future.”
The Sunray Companies is a full-service hospitality, retail and real estate development company with a portfolio of properties in Mississippi and Louisiana. They own and operate 13 Massage Envy locations, including Hattiesburg.
“We are appreciative to Massage Envy for partnering with us to provide opportunities for our students,” said Dr. Jana Causey, Vice President for Forrest County Campus, Allied Health, and Nursing Programs. “Financial barriers are a huge obstacle for students, and Massage Envy recognized the need to help them succeed.
“It is imperative that industry is involved with our programs and workforce development so that we can provide the best training and high-quality coursework to students. Massage Envy has generously provided resources to the program, assistance for students, and guidance on curriculum and planning decisions.”
Sunray Companies helped with the successful launch of the massage therapy program with the donation of six massage tables and a massage chair prior to the first class in August 2021.
“I am very thankful for our industry partners like Massage Envy, who see value in Pearl River and value in our students,” said Dr. James David Collum, Dean of Career and Technical Education at Forrest County Campus. “We could not run programs like Massage Therapy without the support of our partners like Massage Envy.
“In addition to the wonderful scholarships they have provided students, they provide guidance and feedback by serving on our craft committees, provide job opportunities for graduates and current students, and guidance for students preparing to take their state board exams.”
Article by Laura O’Neill.
Photography by River Roderick.