Class of 2011
As a Westminster, Maryland native, Joanna Eckenrode knew well of Stevenson University and its reputable Nursing program. In fact, it was SU’s strong, two year BSN program that brought her back to Maryland.
After graduating from James Madison University with a BS in Anthropology, Joanna worked as a Clinical Research Coordinator at Massachusetts General Hospital, interacting with individuals with terminal, neurological diseases. However, it was her desire to do more for the patients that solidified her decision to go back to college for a degree in nursing.
Looking back on her two years at Stevenson, she describes her time in the nursing program as an eye-opening, educational experience. “The hands-on training and the faculty at SU have solidified my choice of study," says Joanna. "It is nursing."
Like many Stevenson students, Joanna’s education goes beyond the classroom. She recalls a particular experience during her practicum at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center when one of her patients crashed unexpectedly. "Immediately, multiple surgeons and nurses ran into the room to attend to this patient. The nurse I report to told me to stay. Aside from the patient’s personal surgeon, I knew this patient’s history the best. It was then that I really felt like a nurse."
All of this would not have been possible without financial assistance through the Bertha Wegad RN Memorial Scholarship for Nursing. This endowed scholarship allowed Joanna to focus on her education rather than the burden of additional student loans or a second job.
"Not to sound trite, but this scholarship truly is an education gift," reports Joanna. "It’s not just additional tuition money-it's textbooks and it’s one less night working and one more credit hour of schooling. It’s a few more hours of additional sleep. It really permeates every part of my education."
"Without a scholarship, I would not be where I am today. I am very thankful to the Wegad family. It has allowed me to connect with a new person. Mr. Wegad was never someone that I expected to meet in my life, but I’m glad to have this connection with a former member of the faculty. It has made my bond to Stevenson that much stronger."
Class of 2011
For me, it was the small class sizes, the dynamic and diverse student body and the convenient class schedule. Of course, the new dorms and freshman parking were nice too!
For Elizabeth Volinski-Brown, Class of 2011, it was the strong, accelerated RN to BSN program.
As a loving wife and mother to five children, Elizabeth knew that attending an institution with an accelerated evening class schedule was the best way for her to reach her educational goals. After graduation in May, she plans to take the certification exam for psychiatric nursing. She then hopes to begin a Master’s program in the fall, with career aspirations of becoming a primary mental health-Nurse Practitioner, PMH-NP, and open her own addiction center, focusing on helping women and children.
Her favorite experience at Stevenson University has been her current practicum in the medical/surgical ward of Union Memorial Hospital. “Learning from my professors at Stevenson has been great…but the experience at Union Memorial is where I actually felt like a nurse,” says Volinski-Brown.
Elizabeth feels that the education she received at Stevenson is second to none. “Stevenson’s nursing program is great,” states Volinksi-Brown. “In my observation, SU students are more professional in the work environment and more prepared to work on day-one than the students I have witnessed from other institutions.” She attributes this to the high expectations the Stevenson faculty set for their students. “Although this makes the program very difficult, I think it ultimately fosters competence and independence once we’re out working.”
However, her experience at Stevenson would not have been possible without financial assistance through the Joseph S. Keelty Scholarship in Nursing. This endowed scholarship provided the opportunity for Elizabeth to focus on her classes and reduce her hours at work. She also explains that the Keelty Scholarship was a tangible reminder for her children to see first-hand the importance of higher education. “This was the only way I made it though,” claims Elizabeth.
Elizabeth wholeheartedly encourages all alumni to consider supporting scholarships and is excited to make her first gift as an alumnus. As a current student and scholarship recipient, I applaud her dedication to Stevenson University. Thank you for choosing Stevenson, Elizabeth, and thank you for your cheerleading and support.