Inspired by several health tragedies in her family, Ashleigh Grimes aspired to become a nurse. Financial burdens almost derailed her final year at Chamberlain University. Fortunately, the North Carolina resident was the recipient in 2020 of back-to-back Spring and Fall Chamberlain scholarships and is poised to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in the months ahead.
“With your contributions, I now have the opportunity of fulfilling my dreams of becoming a nurse and touching so many lives in a positive way,” says the two-time EMPOWER Scholarship Fund recipient who wants to work in intensive care. Grimes received the Equality in Education Scholarship in Fall 2020 and the Ascend Learning Global Health Education Scholarship last spring.
Focused. Committed. Caring. Respectful. These are just a few words used to describe nursing students like Grimes and all the recipients of the EMPOWER Scholarship Fund and Chamberlain University scholarships that reward future nurses and provide encouragement to nursing students to continue their hard work and diligent studies. “The scholarships also enable them to enter the workforce with a reduced amount of debt,” says Susan Rasmus, Director of the EMPOWER Scholarship Fund.
“The EMPOWER Scholarship Fund and Chamberlain scholarships are awarded to current students, especially those with the greatest need and who have established a successful academic track record,” she says. “Many of these students have complex schedules and dynamic personal situations yet strive to continue their education and advance their professional ambition.”
In Spring 2020, the EMPOWER Scholarship Fund awarded 11 scholarships to Chamberlain students. For Spring 2021, the Empower Scholarship Board of Directors is excited to nearly triple that funding total, raising the amount available to be dispersed between 59 scholarships.
Balancing it All and Making Education a Priority
Step Forward Scholarship Recipient – James Kennedy
For students like James Kennedy, who is currently in the Master of Science in Nursing degree program, the scholarships make what seems financially impossible, possible.
A full-time dad, graduate nursing student and employee, Kennedy is the first in his family to attend college. Attending school has been challenging, especially when his wife lost her job and he struggled to work and continue his graduate education.
“I cannot express how beneficial this contribution is to me, my career, and my family's future,” says Kennedy, Chamberlain University Step Forward Scholarship recipient for Spring 2020. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and my family thanks you as well.”
Kennedy is studying to become a family nurse practitioner.
“My expanded roles and responsibilities will allow me to give back in a much greater capacity,” he says. “I am deeply passionate about the current opioid crisis that has impacted my community like so many others. As a practitioner I will be able to use my skills and influence to combat this problem head on. Whether this is in a prevention, treatment, or education capacity, I would love to make a difference in our opioid addicted population. I would also like to participate in addressing community acquired diseases and infections.”
Equality in Education Scholarship Recipient – Cyera James
Cyera James received the Equality in Education Scholarship last fall. A single mom, she also works at a Chicago-area hospital to help fund her tuition in the RN to BSN Online Degree Completion Option and plans to graduate in November of 2023.
“Words can't express how excited I am to be an EMPOWER Scholarship Fund recipient,” says James. “It’s not always easy to juggle school, work and being a single parent, and I am profoundly grateful for the assistance that I am receiving because of your thoughtful gift. When I graduate, I plan to use what I have learned at Chamberlain to make a difference in people’s lives, the same way that you have made a difference in mine. Thank you again for the generous contribution which made my scholarship possible.”
The Empower Scholarship Fund (the Fund) strives to help keep education within reach by providing financial support in the form of scholarships to qualifying students. To learn more, visit www.empowerscholarshipfund.org.
By Mary Beth Sammons
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