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Scholarship Program Helps JPS Team Members Reach for the Stars

JPS team members sharing a laugh

A group of 10 aspiring JPS Health Network nurses will go to school for free thanks to Reach for the Stars scholarships.

Funded by an anonymous donor, the scholarships are awarded twice a year to JPS team members, according to Jodi Bell, Learning Projects Director in the JPS Human Resources Department. They’re earmarked for team members who want to become a nurse or those who already are nurses but want to enhance their education and abilities.

“It’s a full scholarship,” Bell said. “It covers all tuition, books and fees. It’s really a great opportunity for people who are interested in nursing-related education.”

The scholarship recipients for the current term are:

  • Jean Beya, a certified phlebotomist in the Phlebotomy Lab
  • Tami Jennings-Lawrence, an RN in Behavioral Health
  • Melissa Lind, an LVN in the Oncology Clinic
  • Irene Mutekwa, an RN in Behavioral Health
  • Christian Nilo (Munoz), a certified surgical technician in the operating room
  • Jada Randolph, a multi-skilled technician in P5 Surgical/Trauma Progressive Care
  • Patrice Sherwood, an RN in Women and Children
  • Lashunda Warner, an RN in the Health Center for Women
  • Stacy Washington, a nurse resident in P5 Surgical/Trauma Progressive Care
  • Stephanie Zollinger, a nurse resident in T11 Respiratory Pulmonary Unit

“The scholarship provides the financial means for full-time and part-time team members to achieve their dreams of becoming nurses,” said J.R. Labbe Senior Vice President, Community Affairs & Development. “Some of the recipients in the first two cohorts are already nurses and are using the funds to accomplish their Bachelor of Nursing degree, but the funder wants the majority of financial help directed to people who are just beginning their nursing education.”

It was a huge blessing, financially, to get this scholarship

Danielle Brenner, a lactation consultant at JPS, was a Reach for the Stars scholarship recipient in 2019. The financial support has allowed her to attend two semesters of school for free. Brenner said she is attending the University of Texas at Arlington to earn a BSN degree. She estimated she’s saving $11,000-$12,000 between tuition, books and other expenses, a boost she appreciates as she tries to go to school while holding down a full-time job.

“It was a huge blessing, financially, to get this scholarship,” said Brenner who already holds a bachelor’s degree in nutrition. “It was nice not to have to stress about buying books, scrubs and all of those other things that go along with it.”

Brenner said she expects to graduate in December. She said when she does it will open up a lot of career opportunities in other nursing fields.

According to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, Texas has a critical nursing shortage. There were 14,973 fewer registered nurses in 2015 than there were jobs available. By the year 2030, the demand for RNs is expected to grow 53.8 percent leaving a deficit of 59,970 nurses. The report also predicted a shortage of nurse practitioners, certified registered nurse anesthetists and certified nurse midwives which will grow every year over the next decade.

The next application period for the Reach for the Stars scholarships will take place in July. JPS team members can contact NursingStars@jpshealth.org for more information.