Community and Public Health Nurses

New Scholarships Will Help Nursing Students With a Passion for Public Health

June 12, 2019
By: Kristen O'Reilly

A grant from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation will allow aspiring nurse leaders with a passion for improving the health of their community to graduate with little to no debt from Worcester State’s Master of Science in Nursing, Community and Public Health Nursing Specialization program.

The $180,000 grant will fund full and partial scholarships for non-traditional graduate nursing students, most of whom are juggling work, family, and schoolwork. Graduates of the program go on to careers in clinical care, health education, health promotion, program development, and nursing education.

“Unlike undergraduate students who have access to more financial aid resources, students at the graduate level face a number of barriers, including eligibility criteria, the amount of award, and the number of sources available,” says Nursing Professor Stephanie Chalupka ’80, Ed.D. “All of our master’s degree candidates in the nursing program are non-traditional, and the majority of them are balancing full-time employment, raising children, or caring for aging parents. This financial support is critical for their success.”

The grant provides support at two levels:

  • E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation Nursing Fellows, who receive full scholarships of $12,000 for tuition and fees for full-time work (two classes per semester).
  • E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation Nursing Scholars, who receive half scholarships of $6,000 for part-time work (one class per semester).

Fellows will be expected to serve as Community Health Ambassadors—increasing the visibility of the program to future applicants, establishing new connections with past alumni, and supporting community nursing partnerships. Fellows will also be mentored by faculty as they design and implement a community health service project that will be completed by graduation. Scholars will support the fellows in their implementation of those community health service projects.

“We expect these fellows and scholars to be leaders in public health service in the community. They will be innovators who may develop new service projects in communities and motivate their peers to be involved in public health projects,” says Chalupka.

The only one of its kind in New England, the Community and Public Health Nursing Specialization program explores the concepts of public health and their applications. With an average enrollment of about 90 students per year, the program requires these nursing leaders to put those theories to practice, requiring 250 hours of fieldwork in the Worcester area. The program is an important pipeline for direct care providers in public health agencies, school departments, and federally qualified community health centers.

“As an institution, we have made a strong commitment to maintaining a productive relationship with the surrounding community and encourage students to take an active role in fostering this relationship,” says Chalupka. “Our students are prepared for the responsibility of serving and leading in their community, country, and the world after graduation.”

For more information, contact Dr. Chalupka: schalupka@worcester.edu.

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