Dear Davenport University Donors,
Hello, my name is Kuana Marie School. I am a senior nursing student at Davenport University at the Lansing campus. I want to begin by saying “thank you” for supporting scholarships at all of our Davenport locations. Because of you, I received a scholarship that not only helped to fund my nursing education, it actually ensured that I was able to remain in school to date. There was a point in time recently that being dropped was eminent (not for a lack of effort nor poor grades). Rather, what threatened my ability to remain a student was merely the inability to complete payment on the last 20% of my tuition. It was the MLK Essay contest scholarship award that came through for me. And, to my astonishment, I was awarded the exact amount I needed. You – the scholarship donors – are not some superficial extension of the college. You just may be the very core of it…a crucial aspect that allows us students to actualize our innate gifts. The end result being that we want to give back after we graduate. At least this is true for me.
As a child, I was fascinated by learning, regardless of a lack of resources and uninvolved parents. I was that child who would at times choose to skip recess in order to read the encyclopedia in a corner, or to help my teachers in the classroom. At home, I would look after my little brothers and spend time teaching them the skills I learned. Later, in my teen years, I enjoyed helping my grandmother (who suffers from a severe mental illness) and great-grandmother on a regular basis. I became fully aware that I was someone who received a deep sense of gratification from helping others. Giving back was cathartic and created a sense of purpose for me even then.
This interest in helping people led me to become a certified athletic trainer and nutritional coach for a fitness center in East Lansing, MI. I was able to encourage others towards living a better life, and I was also “practicing what I preached”, I was healthy and I felt great. Even though that career lasted over a decade – still there was this “itch” – a feeling that there was more in me to give. But, by this time I had become a mother, and had a family of my own to tend to, which became my priority.
Finally, after hearing time and time again from clients who served in the medical field that I would “make a great nurse”, I did it. I jumped in enthusiastically in pursuit of a nursing degree and began working as a certified nurse aide. Working in home care and hospice care was utterly fulfilling, and I loved every minute of it! With each pre-requisite class I took, came more confirmation that I was in the right place. Once accepted into the BSN program at Davenport University in Lansing, I began my role as a student nurse caring for patients in my clinical rotations.
Nursing school can be challenging. Especially while working nearly 30 hours a week to ensure the bills are paid and there is food on the table for my family. I had to take two years off from school from 2011 through 2013 to work and save money. When I returned, I learned a few of my classes I had earned a 4.0 grade in had expired at the junior college I had transferred from. I was tempted to give up then, but followed through. The financial aspect of making it through nursing school as a single (divorced) mother has been tough at times. But, this is my calling, and I have paced myself to make it this far, and I do not give up easily.
I have one year left to graduate with my Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing Science and am aspiring to graduate with honors. I will be the first in my family to graduate from college.
I am currently involved in scientific research at the Lansing campus. My interest in research since my early years has continued to expand, allowing me to hone in on what I am meant to pursue post-graduation. Since my junior year, I have volunteered in DU’s Bioinformatics Lab under the leadership of instructor, Laura Harris as a student researcher, author and presenter at microbiology conferences around the state. I have also actively participated in the student nurse association (SNA) on my campus, and served on the board during my junior year in the editor position. I am still an active participant with our Lansing SNA. These things I simply enjoy, and have learned much thus far.
Our Lansing Bioinformatics team seeks to better understand antibiotic resistant genes of bacteria, in effort to assist in creating more efficient pharmaceutical therapies to promote better patient outcomes. Our team was the first ever to be published in an internationally recognized scientific publication such as Bioinformation from Davenport University. This supplement to my nursing program has grown a desire within me serve in community health, such as infectious disease, clinical trials nursing or integrative health.
I have never lost that desire to help others, and I will give back. Because of people like you with this same desire, I am able to continue “paying it forward”. I wholeheartedly thank you for your support of Davenport University. Without you, I would not have been able to finish nursing school and pursue my lifelong dream of helping others in this process we all experience: life!
Kuana M. School