By Quincey Taylor
Stodtmeister with Gallagher Foundation board member. Image courtesy of Stodtmeister.
In September of 2018, third semester nursing student Paige Stodtmeister heard the exciting news that she had been awarded the Gallagher Foundation Health Careers Award. She hopes her experience will inspire fellow nursing students to persist in searching and applying for scholarships.
Stodtmeister was selected as one of 10 students in the nation to receive this award. The foundation flew her to Boston, where she met the other recipients and had the opportunity to network with several healthcare professionals. She was awarded a scholarship of $7,500 to help her further her education into graduate school.
Stodtmeister (left), Gallagher Foundation board member (center), and Stodtmeister’s mother (right). Image courtesy of Stodtmeister.
Every since she was a child, Stodtmeister loved learning about the human body. Her mother is a psychiatric nurse practitioner and sparked a love for healthcare in her daughter. Stodtmeister was especially inspired to enter the medical field because of her brother, who has high-functioning autism. She says, “That was the main reason I went into nursing. I wanted to help people like my brother.”
Stodtmeister with other award recipients. Image courtesy of Stodtmeister.
It was with her mother’s personal support that Stodtmeister apprehensively came to the banquet. She was a little nervous when she considered that the other recipients came from universities like Stanford, Harvard, and Vanderbilt. However, she says, “I ended up feeling like I had worked hard and I was with these people for a reason.”
When asked what she would say to a fellow nursing student searching for scholarships, Stodtmeister comments, “There are misperceptions that there are no scholarships, which is absolutely false. There are, and there are tons if you search and develop strategies to search for scholarships.” She also believes it is important to portray yourself in your best light when applying. She says, “Another misconception is that often we think that we aren’t qualified enough. That’s not true. There are so many ways that you can write your resume with things that you’ve actually done in a way that features your best self. There are so many nursing students that would qualify for this because this is already a really difficult program to get into. Everyone here already has a lot of experience, it’s just a matter of featuring yourself in a way that presents all of that information.”
She recommends using multiple resources to find different scholarship opportunities. There are emails from advisement center supervisor Cara Wiley regarding scholarship prospects, as well as different scholarship search engines like Fastweb or Cappex. The key is to tailor your profile so they will send you scholarships that pertain to you and your credentials. “The more local,” Stodtmeister adds, “the better.”