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New Nursing Scholarship at College of Saint Mary Helps Mother of Four

Monday, July 25, 2022



By: Quanecia Fraser

A new scholarship at the College of Saint Mary aims to tackle the nursing shortage and promote diversity in health care. Tiara Brown said it's helping her work towards her childhood dream. Just six weeks into her first semester at the College of Saint Mary, Brown said her pregnancy put her education on pause."Had to be re-hospitalized, after the childbirth which kind of contributed to me having to drop out because I had to take an additional week in the hospital," she said.

The mother of four was determined to eventually get back to the books. "I told my professor, I am going to finish no matter what... I'm going to finish," Brown said.

In May 2022, Brown found herself back in the classroom. And she doesn't think it would've been possible without a new scholarship offered by the College of Saint Mary.

"My husband is the only one working at the moment so we're on a one-person income with four kids," she said.

"It's really geared at students that would normally need to have a job while they were in the program: Students of color, students who are disadvantaged, students who are single parents," Mindy Barna, the Associate Dean of Health Professions, said.

With funding from the Harpy Family Foundation, the full-ride Josie Harper Scholarship covers everything a student would need from books and tuition, to even room and board. "I think it's two-fold: It will help fill the nursing shortage in Nebraska but also helps us get more students of color into the nursing field," Barna said.

Associate Dean of Health Professions Mindy Barna hopes that providing this kind of opportunity will work to lower health care disparities when it comes to race."When patients come into the hospital and they don't see somebody who looks like them or may have had similar experiences as them, it's hard for them to really feel comfortable in the hospital setting," Barna said.

She also hopes it will bring more people into nursing at a time when the health care industry really needs them.

"The pandemic helped for a little bit (to) get people excited about nursing, but then it also scared a lot of people off about nursing," Barna said. For Brown and many others, this scholarship is more than just a check. It's a pipeline to reaching a lifelong dream.

"This is what I've always wanted to do my entire life since I was a kid," Brown said. "Anybody that has the heart, will and desire, and academic rigor to be a nurse should be able to succeed in this program and it offers that opportunity to all."