Of the seven Northeast Florida nursing students who received scholarships from the First Coast Black Nurses Association, six were from the Jacksonville University Keigwin School of Nursing.
The $1,000 scholarships were awarded earlier this fall in a virtual ceremony. The scholarship recognizes “outstanding” nursing students in Northeast Florida.
Gabriela Gonzalez-Cespedes ‘22 received the Tamara Davis Montgomery Scholarship. She volunteers at UF Health Jacksonville in the pediatrics and trauma departments.
She’s also an English tutor for Spanish-speaking high school students and a volunteer with Children’s Miracle Network.
Gonzales-Cespedes ‘22 hopes to become a pediatric nurse caring for those in underserved communities.
“Growing up in a less privileged community has not only offered financial and academic challenges but it’s also made me realize the importance and value of education,” Gonzales Cespedes said at the ceremony. “Receiving this scholarship takes a burden off my family and I, and gives me peace of mind.”
Alexus Williamson ’22 and Jasmine Moody ‘22 received the Dorothy Gaines Banks Scholarship.
Williamson is in the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and helps with the Sheriff’s Work Ethics and Training (S.W.E.A.T.) program.
She hopes to implement community programs that expose Black youth to health care careers and help Black nursing students complete their studies.
“I just love being a part of things outside my normal responsibilities, so being part of this scholarship and going on to be part of the National Black Nurses Association, it’s just special to do things outside of school, to get involved, be able to get more experience and network with people,” Williamson said.
Moody is part of the Black Student Nurses Association and co-leads her student nurse cohort.
“I really, really appreciate it and I’m so thankful and it’s truly a blessing,” Moody said.
“This scholarship means a lot to me because it’s allowing me to further my education and it’s alleviating some of the financial burden off my shoulders.”
Sarah Nawab ‘22 received the Florida Blue Scholarship.
She volunteers with Lutheran Social Services and is involved in the JU Student Nurses Association. She hopes to work toward improving maternal mortality rates among Black women by creating a patient advocacy program for Black expecting mothers.
“It means a lot to me specifically because my parents are both immigrants, and we are in the minority population as well,” she said. “In their country, education for women isn’t a thing, so to be able to receive this scholarship and to be able to push my education forward and be able to make a difference in the underserved or minority communities means everything to me.”
Sasha Daniels ‘22 received the Helen Ancrum Scholarship.
She is a member of the Student Nurses Association, the USS West Virginia Family Readiness Group and a mentor for high school students.
She hopes to go on to receive a Master of Science in Nursing after practicing in the field for a few years.
“This gives me the opportunity to have a little less financial worry and reminds me of all the ways I want to help the community and improve things,” Daniels said. “As a mother, it reminds me that I’m working hard for the betterment of the African American community and all communities, but also setting an example for my daughter on how to contribute and be a good person.”
Sabrina Monteiro-Jack ‘22 received the Dr. Darby/Van Vattenburg Scholarship.
She is a member of the JU women’s club soccer team, Black Student Union, American Sign Language Club, Student Nurses Association and the National Society of Leadership and Success.
Monteiro-Jack hopes to earn a master’s degree following a few years of work, and eventually become a nurse practitioner and open her own practice.
“Receiving this scholarship means a lot to me, it’s definitely going to push me one step closer to my goal of being a nurse and making sure that I advocate for those who are mistreated and in need,” she said. “Coming from a single-parent household and having to pay for college myself, every little bit counts.”
Since the scholarship program 19 years ago, it has distributed nearly $40,000 to more than 50 nursing students.
By Katie Garwood