Celebrating scholarship recipients, donors

School thanks donors, recognizes students at annual scholarship luncheon

_Scholarship Luncheon Spring 2020Each Spring, the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing has the opportunity to bring together two important groups — its scholarship students and donors.

At this year’s annual Scholarship Luncheon, held on February 18, students had the opportunity to share their stories and experiences with those who support the School and the future of nursing through their generosity.

“To all of our donors, I want to thank you personally for giving so generously,” said Dean and Fay B. Ireland Endowed Chair Doreen C. Harper, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Through your support, you help us educate and prepare the next generations of nurse leaders. You also play an essential part in the School’s ongoing success, as these scholarships enable students to focus on their classes and studies. As a dean, educator and nurse, I am fortunate to have a front row seat to the impact of your generosity.”

In addition to a seated lunch where donors could talk with their scholarship recipients, the group also heard from a select group of student speakers. Ryan Barnett, a fifth semester BSN student; Jastin Russell, a BSN-DNP student; and Pooja Sharma, a family nurse practitioner student in the Accelerated Masters in Nursing Pathway, all shared how scholarships improved their educational experience and allowed them to excel.

Photo: Scholarship Luncheon Spring 2020“As I come near to a close of this chapter and obtain my BSN, there’s an important factor that made this journey possible, and that is all of you — the donors,” Barnett said. “I was blessed to have received the Board of Visitors Endowed Nursing Scholarship, and your generosity has allowed me and many other students to be more focused on our journeys to becoming nurses. We are able to invest our entire selves into our studies and student and community involvement, which will definitely make us better nurses in the long run.”

Russell, also a UAB School of Nursing alumna, received the Florence A. Hixson Endowed Nursing Scholarship, among others, and will graduate with a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in December 2020. She balances work and family life and has a 4.0 GPA in the program.

“There are so many nurses like me who have a great deal of skill and expertise to offer this world but are met with financial barriers,” she said. “You all propel us forward, so thank you. I am grateful, and I hope you know how much it means to us individually and to the field of nursing as well.”

Sharma, who already has a PhD in plant molecular biology from University of Delhi South Campus, felt moved to become a nurse practitioner, as a second career, after watching her father-in-law struggle with dementia. Becoming a nurse practitioner will enable her to improve the lives of patients and make a difference in communities.

Photo: Scholarship Luncheon Spring 2020“I have faced several challenges over the years, as I follow my passion for a second career in nursing. I lost my only surviving parent in the Fall of 2018, during the final semester of my pre-licensure program,” Sharma said. “Yet, feeding on the constant belief my generous scholarship donors have entrusted on me, I continue to earn exemplary grades and have been able to pursue the family nurse practitioner specialty track.”

The three student speakers were a small example of the more than 700 students impacted by scholarships. During the 2019-2020 academic year, 307 UAB School of Nursing students received nearly $900,000 from scholarships held in the School of Nursing. An additional 429 received more than $2 million in university-awarded, School-funded merit scholarships.

Read 736 times Last modified on March 03, 2020

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