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Poised to lead

Scholarship support enables nursing student to pursue experiential learning opportunities

Before Laura Herring enrolled in the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing, she earned her associate degree from Rappahannock Community College near her hometown of Essex, Virginia. She used her time at RCC to explore the health care field by shadowing caregivers in different areas of a local hospital.

“I really fell in love with nursing when I shadowed an ER nurse,” says Herring, who will complete her B.S. in Nursing at VCU in May. “I realized how much of an impact I could make on people’s lives. I just knew that was what I was meant to do.”

Herring worked full time to afford the cost of tuition, books, fees and living expenses while she was in community college. At VCU, her financial burden has been relieved thanks to support from the Joanne and William Conway Nursing Scholarship, which fund provides scholarships to about 150 undergraduate students in the School of Nursing each year.

The award, Herring says, has helped her excel in the School of Nursing’s Leadership Fellows Program.

“The program is one of the most amazing things I have experienced in nursing school,” Herring says. “Without the Conway scholarship, I would have to go back to working full time and would have less time to study and take advantage of the kind of experiential learning opportunities I’ve had.”

After she graduates, Herring plans to work as an ER nurse before pursuing travel nursing, where she would complete short-term assignments in high-need hospitals. She feels prepared to go wherever her career may take her, though, thanks to her time at VCU and the scholarship that helped her make the most of it.

“I can’t express how much gratitude I have for the support I’ve received,” Herring says. “It makes me feel like someone really believes in me and wants to help me follow my dreams.”