Supporting Home and Community-based Health Services for Chicago’s Medically Underserved

VNA Foundation Nursing Scholarships


The VNA Scholarship program, now in its fourth year, works to promote community-focused nursing careers and services. Scholarships are awarded through Loyola University Neihoff School of Nursing to students in its Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program, and to Rush University College of Nursing for students in its new Generalist Entry Master of Science in Nursing program. In return, ABSN scholarship recipients agree to practice for at least two years following graduation in a Chicago community- or home-based organization that serves the medically underserved, and GEM students agree to the same practice criteria for three years.

Selected as the 2009 VNA Foundation ABSN Scholars are:

Josephine Ferrel — Loyola University Neihoff School of Nursing, BSN June 2009

Received $33,345 toward tuition and fees

Ms. Ferrel grew up as the second child in a family of five kids in a south suburb of Chicago. She was influenced early on by growing up with her four sisters, studying music and the values taught in her church. She was also involved with a small group of young people from her youth group who went for ten-day trips in three separate summers to work at a Haitian church. In Haiti, they performed manual labor on and around the church and in the village, and they led a vacation Bible school. During these trips, Ms. Ferrel understood for the first time the impact of government and economy on the welfare of people, and she became aware of the differences in race and culture and their importance in working with an underserved community. Following these experiences, Josie was sure that she wanted a career devoted to helping people experiencing hardship.

Ms. Ferrel graduated from Oberlin College in 2003 with a B.S. in Biochemistry and a B.A. in Russian and East European Studies. Following college, Ms. Ferrel performed basic research for four and a half years, where she learned the importance of thinking analytically and paying attention to details.

Ms. Ferrel is currently looking for a job in community nursing that will keep her on her toes both physically and mentally, and that will help her to find out how her strengths can be best applied in the field of nursing. She plans to eventually earn her PhD which will allow her to pursue nursing research in the community health setting.

Emily J. Malleis — Rush University College of Nursing, MSN March 2011

Received $52,685 toward tuition and fees

Ms. Malleis graduated from the University of Michigan in 2003 with a BS in Biology and Spanish. While there, she was awarded a Full-Ride Scholarship, and University and Class Honors. After graduation, Ms. Malleis joined the Adrian Dominican Sisters, an order of nuns that work to bring a spiritual dimension to the changing face of the world. In the 2.5 years Ms. Malleis trained as a nun, she helped to coordinate an International Women’s Peace Colloquium, and also worked in British Columbia, inner-city Detroit, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, France, and many other places where she was able to become intimately familiar with the health-care needs around the world.

Ms. Malleis’ short-term goal is to receive a degree from Rush University through the GEM program. She plans to eventually earn a PhD in nursing that will enable her to teach at a college of nursing and work toward changes in public policy that will benefit the underserved in our communities.

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