University Scholarship and Inaugural BDO Scholarships Awarded

This year, the Duke University School of Nursing (DUSON) awards five students scholarships to help lower educational costs and help further their education. The University Scholarship is awarded each year, to one recipient. This year, the DUSON Business Development Office (BDO) announced the creation of four merit-based scholarships. Students receiving scholarships are: Kathryn Starr, Nicole Toomey, Taylor Brooke Smith, Emily Hartman and Monica Christine Nandwani.

Duke University Scholar

​DUSON annually selects a student from the ABSN, MSN, or DNP program to receive a full-tuition University scholarship. This year, ABSN student, Kathryn Starr was selected as the 2017 Duke University Scholar. Starr was selected by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs with input from ABSN, MSN and DNP program directors.

“Among a very strong group of nominated students, Katie really stood out for maturity, cultural sensitivity, leadership and generous giving of self,” said Janice Humphreys, PhD, RN, FAAN, professor and associate dean for academic affairs at Duke University School of Nursing. “Her unique experiences and insights and commitment to helping others make her a worthy representative from nursing to the Duke University community.”

“This scholarship serves as the foundation for my nursing career and will allow me to pursue a nurse residency program as a new grad to gain initial experience,” said Starr. “I wish to later return to school to receive either a master or doctorate in nursing practice.”

Katie received her master’s in Public Health from the Maternal and Child Health Department at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2016. Her path to nursing began as a Peace Corps volunteer where she served in Indonesia and worked closely with the village midwife to implement reproductive health education among youth.

“I plan to apply to nurse residency programs to gain initial experience as a new graduate in either labor and delivery or adult medical-surgical nursing,” said Starr. “After learning and gaining experience in the field, I plan to return to school to complete either a master or doctorate in nursing practice to serve vulnerable populations either as a nurse midwife or family nurse practitioner.”

Starr currently serves as a teen pregnancy evaluation consultant with the North Carolina Division of Public Health and also as a volunteer birth doula at the UNC-Chapel Hill Women’s Hospital. She is excited to merge her public health background with the education she receives at Duke to provide care for vulnerable populations.

Business Development Office Scholarships

New this year, the DUSON Business Development Office (BDO) has awarded one-time $10,000 merit based scholarships. These scholarships were awarded to students in the ASBN, MSN, DNP and DNP-Nurse Anesthesia programs. The BDO was created in late 2015 to identify and facilitate partnership opportunities for DUSON with private, public and academic organizations, as well as expand scholarship support and program development.

The recipients of this year’s scholarships are: Nicole Toomey, Taylor Brooke Smith, Emily Hartman and Monica Christine Nandwani.

These scholarships are named in honor of faculty and staff members whose entrepreneurial spirit, support of business development activities and success have helped make the BDO successful. The honored staff and faculty members are: Charles “Chuck” Vacchiano, PhD, CRNA, FAAN, professor for the DNP-Nurse Anesthesia Program; Barbara Turner, PhD, RN, FAAN, Elizabeth P. Hanes Professor of Nursing and chair for the Health of Women, Children & Families Division; Michael Relf, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, AACRN, CNE, FAAN, associate professor and associate dean for Global and Community Health Affairs; and Tina Leiter, director of Facility Operations.

Toomey is the recipient of the Michael Relf scholarship. She entered the ABSN program this fall and is a graduate of Duke University, earning a Master in Science in Global Health at the Duke Global Health Institute. She recently worked for the Duke Global Health Institute and the Emergency Department as a research administrator. She also currently volunteers for The Borgen Project as a contributing writer for their blog and magazine.

Ultimately, she wants to work in a care center that helps underserved populations. “I want to couple my MS degree with my nursing career by serving as a consultant for a non-profit or public health organization that works to provide better quality care to marginalized populations,” said Toomey.

Toomey said she will benefit from this scholarship by being able to receive the best education that will make her the best nurse possible. She chose DUSON because “the opportunities for taking classes across disciplines is incredible and contributes to an amazing holistic educational experience.”

Smith is the recipient of the Tina Leiter scholarship. Smith entered the MSN program this fall and is a graduate of UNC-Greensboro where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. She currently works in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Duke University Hospital as a clinical nurse II.

Smith enrolled in DUSON because of its record of academic excellence, focus on community health and positive feedback she’s received from co-workers who are currently enrolled in DUSON’s MSN programs.

“This scholarship will assist me by allowing me to significantly decrease my work hours, which will allow me to primarily focus on school work,” said Smith.

Smith says that once she earns her degree she looks forward to taking on a full time position as a family nurse practitioner working in either a community health center or a primary care practice. “Long-term I would like to take on the role of preceptor for nurse practitioner students and would like to lead some form of health promotion focused support group for patients.”

Hartman is the recipient of the Charles Vacchiano scholarship. Hartman entered the Nurse Anesthesia program this fall and previously earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Akron. She chose DUSON because it’s one of the top certified registered nurse (CRNA) programs in the nation. She loves how genuine and supportive the staff and faculty were during her interview process, and admits that she’s been a Duke basketball fan since childhood and has always aspired to attend Duke University.

“In the future, I will be able to look back on this scholarship and be reminded to support future nurses in their professional endeavors because I am fortunate enough to have others support me in my journey,” said Hartman. “As much as I enjoy learning, I also enjoy educating, which leads to my distant dream to pursue a career path in nursing education to share my clinical knowledge with future CRNAs.”

Finally, Nandwani is the recipient of the Barbara Turner scholarship and entered the DNP program this fall. Nandwani is a native of the Philippines and came to the United States as part of a year-abroad high school foreign exchange program through Rotary International. Her time as a Rotary exchange student strengthened her conviction to become a nurse. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. She later earned her Master of Science in Nursing as a family nurse practitioner.

When Nandwani was considering DNP programs, she made the decision to join DUSON without hesitation. She shares that the faculty members are exceptional clinicians, researchers and educators that have proven to be leaders in their fields of nursing. She looks forward to learning from the Duke faculty and aspires to one day be as accomplished and influential to the nursing profession as they are. “I firmly believe that being a part of such a strong academic community creates the ideal environment for discourse and multidisciplinary collaboration,” said Nandwani.

Nandwani is thankful to be chosen as the recipient for the Barbara Turner scholarship. “This scholarship has reinforced my decision that obtaining a DNP degree despite working full-time is something I am determined to do and will allow me to focus on learning without as much of a monetary burden.”

Once Nandwani earns her DNP degree, she “hopes to be able to carry out various roles such as hospital administrator, clinical nurse faculty, and clinician to facilitate safe, quality, evidence-based, efficient care in a fiscally responsible manner.”

Congratulations to this year’s scholarship recipients!

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