Paying It Forward
By Angela Koenig
Take a look at one of the newest scholarships for the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing, as featured on Cincinnati Local 12's Random Acts of Kindness, by Liz Bonis. Video courtesy of WKRC Local 12.
By Angela Koenig
It’s been said “’tis better to give than receive”…and then there is both!
In 2011 Susan Hoelle held a bachelor’s of science in nursing but decided she wanted to pursue an advanced practice degree: a master of science in nursing, or MSN. She enrolled at the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing Family Nurse Practitioner program and during her two years in the program became the proud recipient of the Susan and Derek van Amerongen Scholarship, which bestows $5,000 a year to a student seeking to advance their career. But when Hoelle graduated in 2013 she made yet another career enhancing decision—this time for someone else, by establishing her own nursing scholarship to pay forward the generosity of the van Amerongen scholarship.
Beginning in 2014, and over a period of five years, Hoelle will assist other ambitious nursing students with a $2,000 scholarship contribution each academic year. The scholarship will be open to traditional, full-time students in any program in the College of Nursing with a 3.0 or higher GPA and the students must express a desire in public health nursing or to work with vulnerable populations.
What is your background?
I was born and raised in southwestern Ohio and am the third of five daughters. We grew up on a small farm with beef cattle and crops. My sisters and I helped with baling hay, canning vegetables and other activities on the farm. The work was hard at times but I always enjoyed driving the tractors or the farm truck, which of course I was doing well before receiving my driver’s education class. I attended Miami University for my undergraduate degree in nursing (BSN) and worked several years before deciding to return to graduate school.
Why did you choose UC to further your education?
I initially selected UC because the university established a Master’s in Public Health program in 2008. I have a background in public health and was interested in a MPH degree. I looked elsewhere, but the program at UC met my requirements (local, on-site program). I started the MPH program in 2010 and it was during that time I decided on becoming a nurse practitioner. Attending UC for my master’s in nursing was the obvious choice. First, I wanted to attend an on-site program (not distance learning). Secondly, UC’s NP programs have a reputation for providing an excellent education for students. I enrolled and was accepted in the family nurse practitioner program and started the program in 2011.
What did it feel like to receive the scholarship?
I was thrilled and honored. When I decided to become a nurse practitioner, I wanted to attend as a full-time student. That meant scaling back my work hours significantly, which translated into reduced income. I was willing to make the financial sacrifice because I was committed to studying as much as possible. I did not want to forgo the hours required to successfully complete the program. Receiving the scholarship greatly alleviated my financial burden. Being awarded the scholarship motivated me to work even harder, knowing that a significant portion of my education was being funded.
How do you convey to others, especially young adults, the importance of giving back?
Giving back is an investment in our future. I am proud to be a nurse and now a nurse practitioner. Giving back provides the opportunity to support the education of others in my profession. I have come to realize even a small gift can be incredibly impactful.
As a recent grad, what would you tell those thinking about going back to school?
People say to me, “Oh, it will take me three years, five years, whatever, to complete my degree”. I tell people to consider that this time will come and go regardless if you are in school or not, so why not? I so enjoyed returning to school later in life (I’m in my early 40s now) and really immersed myself in gaining new knowledge. It was tough but worth it, I’m excited about the next chapter post-graduation.
For more information on the Hoelle scholarship or to create a nursing scholarship of your own, please contact Brian Hurst, senior director of development for the UC Academic Health Center, by calling 513-558-0907 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.