A Compassionate Leader
“A highly motivated young man who has overcome many obstacles in life, demonstrating warmth, grace and leadership.” That’s how professors at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) School of Nursing describe Tinh Lam, winner of a $1,000 scholarship from Minority Nurse.
Tinh, who will complete his BSN degree in December 2003, came to America at age seven and now provides financial assistance to five siblings and his parents back in Vietnam. At UTC his 3.6 grade point average has earned him Dean’s List standing and he was recently elected vice president of the school’s Student Nurses’ Association. Despite his busy academic schedule and weekend job at a local hospital, Tinh still finds time to provide extensive care and life assistance to a friend who was born with cerebral palsy.
“From the beginning, Tinh has shown himself to be a leader in his class,” says faculty member Dr. Janet Secrest. “His compassion and his warm sense of humor have endeared him to classmates, faculty, staff and patients.”
Tinh, who plans to go on to graduate study in nurse anesthesia, has this advice for other minority nursing students who hope to capture scholarships: “Get the best letters of reference you can. Try to make a lasting impression on your professors, people for whom you’ve done volunteer work and other people who can help you out in the world–by working hard for them, being honest and by just being yourself.”
It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superstudent!
Charla Patrice Gotier, RN, a senior-year BSN student at Loyola University in New Orleans, has shown an outstanding commitment to continuing education and academic excellence since earning her associate’s degree from Excelsior College in 1999. And now she can add winning a $1,000 Minority Nurse Magazine Scholarship to her lengthy list of accomplishments.
“Superstudent” would be a good term to describe Charla, who is of African-American and Cherokee Indian descent. She has maintained a 3.5 GPA at Loyola while carrying a heavy course load of 12 hours a semester, working part-time as an RN and raising her young son as a single parent. She is also a member of no less than seven nursing associations, including the National Student Nurses’ Association, National Black Nurses Association, Emergency Nurses Association and the Oncology Nursing Society.
In addition, Charla is active in community service. She volunteers at a local Head Start center for low-income families and at two organizations serving HIV/AIDS patients.
Graduate school, advanced practice licensure and a career in nurse anesthesia or community health are just a few of Charla’s future goals. What’s the secret of her success? “Embrace diversity, love yourself and know who you are [as a person of color],” she advises. “Don’t allow anyone to break you down or tell you what you won’t be able to do. Just keep taking [nursing school] one day at a time, one test at a time, and don’t worry about how long it’s going to take you to finish.”
“She Is a Genuine Patient Advocator”
Mabel Paige Alvarez is the recipient of a $500 scholarship from Minority Nurse, which will help her complete her final semester of nursing studies at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Scheduled to graduate this May, Mabel says her immediate plans are to “work for a year or two on a med/surg floor, to perfect my nursing skills. Then I plan to go into public health nursing, which is what I really want to do.” Eventually, she would like to explore a career in forensic nursing.
According to her clinical rotation instructor, Connie Trice, “Mabel’s most outstanding attribute is that she is a very intelligent, highly motivated and conscientious student. In addition, she is a genuine patient advocator. She always displays a genuine sympathy toward her patients and their family members without prejudgment, regardless of their socioeconomic status or ethnic background.”
As a member of Kappa Delta Chi, a community service-based sorority, Mabel performs over 25 hours of volunteer work each semester. She has tutored underprivileged kids, participated in food drives, assisted in providing flu shots for senior citizens, and much more. Mabel also played a leadership role in conducting a pilot project to create a community service database program for the College of Nursing.
How does she manage to balance all these activities with the demands of classwork and studying? “When you enter nursing school, time management always has to be your priority,” Mabel tells Minority Nurse. “Given the opportunity, I think anybody can do it. The best advice I can give is to have good time management and organizational skills.”
A Gift for Learning
Consistently achieving a near-perfect grade point average despite the fact that English is not her native language is just one of the extraordinary qualities that helped Linda Vaunique Kemacheun win a $500 scholarship from Minority Nurse. An international student from Cameroon, Linda will graduate in May from the baccalaureate nursing program at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.
The nursing faculty at Henderson has nothing but praise for Linda’s exceptional academic performance. “She is a remarkably gifted student,” says Professor Shannon Finley. “She has maintained a 3.9 GPA while taking a particularly rigorous schedule that includes courses like organic chemistry, microbiology, and human anatomy and physiology. She performs laudably in all the courses she takes.”
Earning such impressive grades “was a lot of work,” Linda admits, and it was not always easy for her to master the challenges of adjusting to a new language and culture. “I would advise other international students to take some English classes when they first get to America,” she says. Becoming immersed in the language by interacting with other students and watching TV can be very helpful, Linda points out.
Outside the classroom, Linda is a member of several nursing associations, including the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses and the Henderson Nursing Student Association, where she currently serves as vice president. She is actively involved in her local church and donates her time to community service projects that assist the elderly and children with disabilities.
What’s next for Linda? “I’d like to apply to a nurse practitioner program,” she says.