Lienhard School of Nursing Welcomes Inaugural Cohort of HRSA Scholars

September 1, 2021
First cohort of ten enthusiastic HRSA Scholars.

In June 2021, Pace University College of Health Professions (CHP). Lienhard School of Nursing (LSN) received a nearly $2 million federal Nursing Workforce Diversity grant, funded through the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), created to increase educational opportunities and retention rates for first generation college students from underrepresented ethnic and racial minority groups in nursing. The grant, facilitated through the Lienhard School of Nursing’s innovative STEPS to Success program, provides support, scholarships, mentoring, tutoring, wellness workshops, and resiliency training aimed at preventing burnout and promoting academic success for nursing students. The grant will fund these activities over the four years of the program.

“The grant allows us to better ensure a pipeline of diverse nurses into our local communities. The grant will also support our efforts to recruit and retain a more diverse nursing faculty."

Dr. Rhonda Maneval, Vice Dean, CHP and Lienhard School of Nursing

In late August, CHP welcomed its first cohort of ten enthusiastic HRSA Scholars to the RN4 Nursing Program with an Immersion Week of events and activities planned to acquaint the students with each other, their professors, and mentors and to have them explore the campus facilities and surrounding communities before the official start of the 2021 fall semester.

Student Joeleena Hernandez appreciated that LSN provided them a deeper first look into their next four years, which is something many students do not get to receive before starting their program. “Since we were here for the immersion week, we got to tour the lab and see what we will be doing in future years; we got to see what we have to look forward to.”

Fellow student, Keyla Gudiel echoed Joeleena’s comments, saying that she appreciated learning about nursing terminology, exploring all the resources the program offers, and meeting with the designated mentors who will support them throughout the program.

Reflecting on why they choose Pace University, one of the main reasons was the opportunity to become immersed in clinical work and lab simulations during their sophomore year.

Jackie Maldonado and Alessandra Gutierrez acknowledged LSN’s high NCLEX scores and student support. “Pace offers students a lot of opportunities, and it’s always good to know that if you ever need help, there’s always somewhere to get it,” said Jackie.

Gabriela Casimiro choose the LSN because of the supportive environment among students, faculty, and staff and is excited to benefit from the cohort experience. Commenting on LSN’s direct admit nursing program policy, she said, “I like that you don’t have to compete for your spot and once you’re accepted, you’re in for all four years. “Because of this, the environment is less competitive, and students can help each other out.”

Associate Professor of undergraduate nursing Millie Hepburn, PhD, MS, describes the cohort as highly motivated and enthusiastic. “The group bonded really well early on with both resident and commuter students spending time together on campus, having meals together and taking advantage of activities. There is a lot of good energy there!”

Rhonda Maneval, D.Ed., RN, Vice Dean, Pace University College of Health Professions and Lienhard School of Nursing, author and project director of the grant, noted that receiving this grant is an amazing opportunity for the Lienhard School of Nursing to continue to grow its legacy and commitment to increase racial and ethnic diversity in nursing students and practicing nurses. “The grant allows us to better ensure a pipeline of diverse nurses into our local communities. The grant will also support our efforts to recruit and retain a more diverse nursing faculty. We were thrilled to receive this funding to implementing this important program.”

Dean Marcus Tye extends congratulations to the Class of 2025 HRSA Scholars: Emily Williams, Joeleena Hernandez, Jahaira Pereira, Jaquelyne Maldonado, Sofia Garcia, Evelyn Cabrera, Alessandra Gutierrez, Brithney Tuba, Keyla Gudiel and Gabriela Casimiro.