Mary Jo Coll

Drexel University
$1,000 Scholarship

Type of Nursing Program: Accelerated Career Entry Nursing Program (BA-to-BSN)
Graduation Date: August 2009
GPA: 4.0

Mary Jo in Her Own Words:
“For the past 20 years, I have worked in business. Since completing my MBA in 1993, my experience includes accounting, financial planning and marketing. Most recently, I was a marketing director with Comcast Cable in Philadelphia.

“My greatest personal accomplishment was being my mother’s caregiver and advocate for the last eight years of her life as she struggled with Alzheimer’s disease. The diagnosis was devastating but as her illness progressed and she needed more help, I learned compassion and patience and we grew closer. I came to love her more than I ever would have if she had not become ill.

“After Mom died in October 2007, I felt unfulfilled at work and my life lacked meaning. I missed my mom and the experience of being her caregiver. Being laid off from my marketing job last spring gave me the opportunity to pursue nursing, which I had considered for several years. I plan to focus on geriatrics and help elderly people [live out their lives] with dignity and respect. Ultimately, I want to be a nurse practitioner and treat Alzheimer’s patients and their loved ones with empathy, drawing from my own rewarding and enriching experience with my mom. I was recently invited to join an Alzheimer’s Association advisory committee that will make recommendations on new programs and services.

“I have served on my condominium association board and on the boards of several cultural organizations. In 2006, I joined the Lantern Theater Company’s board, where I serve as chair of the Marketing Committee. My community involvement provides balance in my life and allows me to support arts and culture.”

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What Others Say About Mary Jo:
“Ms. Coll has a true understanding of what being a caregiver means,” says Claire Day, director of programs and education for the Alzheimer’s Association’s Delaware Valley Chapter. “Seeing a need in our community, she has volunteered her time to become a Chapter Ambassador, being able to provide programs to caregivers and health professionals in Spanish as well as English. She was the founding member of the chapter’s first long-distance caregiver group, has volunteered her time to help raise money for the chapter and has used her voice to raise awareness in Washington, D.C. by volunteering at our Annual Day on the Hill events.”

Leah Peterson

University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing
$1,000 Scholarship

Type of Nursing Program: Master’s Entry Program in Nursing (BA-to-MSN)
Graduation Date: June 2011
GPA: 3.7

Leah in Her Own Words:
“After graduating from Stanford University in 2006 with a BA in human biology, I volunteered full time through AmeriCorps for two years as a maternal/child health educator and doula for low-income obstetrical patients at the Metro Community Provider Network, a 13-site federally qualified health center (FQHC) serving the Denver metro area. In addition to attending births, I taught classes on childbirth, newborn care, breastfeeding and healthy pregnancy, and I met individually with women for education sessions on breastfeeding, nutrition and gestational diabetes, mostly in Spanish. I was very fortunate to have learned Spanish through an immersion program that spanned my schooling from kindergarten through high school, as well as through conversing with my grandparents and other Mexican relatives.

“I was thrilled to be able to provide our clinics’ patients with free services that they would otherwise not have access to. My experiences convinced me that I want to become a nurse-midwife and continue to serve low-income Latina women.

Leah PetersonLeah Peterson

“Once I earn my nurse-midwifery certification through UCSF’s master’s entry program, I plan to again work at a community health center in a health professional shortage area that serves a predominantly Spanish-speaking population. I have witnessed how patients have a much more positive experience when working with a primary caregiver who can communicate with them in their own language.”

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What Others Say About Leah:

According to Carol Hutner Winograd, MD, one of Leah’s professors at Stanford, “Leah is deeply committed to service to others and has had a long-term intellectual and personal interest in maternal and child health. Her decision to become a nurse-midwife is an excellent one, consistent with her talents, intellectual curiosity and deep caring. She is emotionally mature, thoughtful, bright, open to new ideas, and she demonstrates empathy and understanding. She is certain to become a leader in the field and serve the Hispanic community well.”

Adds Carol Tumaylle, MPH, of the Metro Community Provider Network, “Leah’s passion for working with the underserved once she graduates is evident. She has strong analytical qualities and she systematically reviews situations, researches options and presents alternatives to solve problems. She also looks for opportunities to increase her intellectual capacity, as demonstrated by her regular attendance at a local university’s lactation journal club and her membership in several technical listservs. Leah has demonstrated honesty, dedication, flexibility and sensitivity—all qualities of a successful student and professional.”

Tiffany Copeland

Molloy College
$500 Scholarship

Type of Nursing Program: Dual Degree Program for
Second Degree Nurses (BA/BS-to-MSN)
Graduation Date: August 2009
GPA: 3.5

Tiffany in Her Own Words:

Tiffany CopelandTiffany Copeland

“I graduated from Hofstra University in December 2005 with a BS degree in community health. I’ve been working for the Family and Children’s Association of New York as a respite counselor for children with mental illnesses. This experience has sparked my fascination with psychiatric care and has motivated me even more to achieve my goal of becoming an adolescent psychiatric nurse practitioner. It’s important to increase the public’s knowledge about mental health issues and to create awareness that will help to diminish negative stigmas about mental illness.

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“In 2005 I was accepted into a summer program at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City called Project Health Care [an intensive 10-week clinical volunteer program]. It was a demanding yet rewarding opportunity to make a difference in other people’s lives. After completing the program, I continued to
volunteer as a patient advocate in Bellevue’s Emergency Department. Since December 2006, I’ve been [working as a patient navigator] for a grant-funded research project at Bellevue which involves helping patients [who present to the ED with non-urgent complaints] obtain access to primary care.

“I’m constantly involving myself in stimulating activities that build on my interests and strengths and will help me serve others in a positive way. It’s my responsibility to engage in patient interaction and seek knowledge that will continue to shape my understanding of people and effective ways to help. I have a lot to offer as a future nurse and I’m determined to find a way to make my goals a reality.”

What Others Say About Tiffany:
“Tiffany was an outstanding member of the Project Health Care program,” says Ashley Colucci, research coordinator and program associate for the Department of Emergency Medicine at Bellevue Hospital Center. “The demands of the ED volunteer experience(s) as well as the flexibility necessary for dealing successfully with our diverse patient populations requires special skills. Many individuals participate in this program, but few become such an integral part of the clinical team as Tiffany.”

As for Tiffany’s work with the ED’s grant-funded Primary Care Access Project, Colucci again has high praise. “Tiffany clearly excelled when interacting with patients,” she emphasizes. “She would consent patients to the project, orient them to the primary care clinic’s hours and services, and assist those patients who had limited English proficiency. She would often go out of her way to make sure the patient was well cared for. The success of our project was in no small part due to her efforts.”

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Jessy Johnson

Jessy JohnsonJessy Johnson

Mount Carmel College of Nursing
$500 Scholarship

Type of Nursing Program: Four-year BSN Program
Graduation Date: May 2009
GPA: 3.9

Jessy in Her Own Words:

“Growing up in India, I was able to see sickness and poverty in its worst forms. My mother was a community health nurse and nursing was a part of my life. I used to work in my mom’s clinic as a nurse’s assistant. My dream was to be a nurse and now I have the opportunity to pursue that dream here in the United States.

“Being an independent student, I work two jobs to pay my tuition and living expenses. I am also very active in my community. I volunteer at the Holy Family Soup Kitchen serving homeless individuals. They teach me life’s lessons every day. I am a Sunday school teacher at my church and am very active in church ministry.

“I am also a member of Mount Carmel College’s campus ministry. We conduct food drives for the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, which provides food for more than 345,870 meals for children at pantries every month. We also conduct a Christmas drive for young kids in nearby schools. These kids come from very poor families that cannot afford to buy Christmas gifts. The kids are given a piece of paper where they get to write the gift of their choice. It is a great feeling to see the happiness in these children’s faces when they receive their gifts. They write us the most heart-warming thank-you letters. We also have a Thanksgiving food drive for families who cannot afford a Thanksgiving dinner.

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“When I graduate, I want to be a critical-care nurse. After working for a couple of years, I want to go back to school and earn my master’s in nurse anesthesia. I eventually plan to open a clinic in India, because many rural areas there lack basic health care.”

What Others Say About Jessy:
Cheryl Mace, MSN, MALM, RN, coordinator of academic success services at Mount Carmel College of Nursing, describes Jessy as “an exemplary student and young woman who demonstrates exceptional knowledge and skills both in and out of the classroom. She thinks analytically and is able to generate an organized plan to implement her ideas while independently setting measurable goals for herself. Jessy sets high expectations for herself while assisting patients toward a successful outcome. She is truly an asset as a student and a human being.”

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