Two Stanislaus State nursing students are among five Central Valley recipients of the Golden Valley Health Center Foundation’s annual Flora R. Martinez Nursing Scholarship.
Allyssa Walker of Lodi and Rebecca DeStefano of Tracy each received $5,000 awards from this year’s $25,000 scholarship fund. The remaining $15,000 was divided evenly among three students attending other valley colleges.
The foundation established the scholarship program in 2015 in honor of one of Golden Valley Health Center’s (GVHC) founding board members, Flora R. Martinez. A resident of Merced who admired the work of nurses and recognized their critical role in health care, Martinez served on the GVHC board for 43 years until her death in 2014.
By supporting student nurses with scholarships, the foundation hopes to build up the valley’s nursing workforce while supporting the ideals that were important to Martinez, including making health care accessible for all and providing direct care to the valley’s underserved population.
“Healthcare is a great career with life-long learning and life-long employment opportunities,” said Tony Weber, president and chief executive officer of GVHC. “This scholarship program demonstrates our commitment to cultivating a strong workforce from the talent in our own communities. We know the need for skilled nurses is going to continue and hope that these students might consider GVHC when looking for a place to work.”
For one of the scholarship recipients, the award allows her to focus on her studies and pursue her dreams without working two jobs and worrying about how she will cover the cost of her education.
“Since I had to quit one of my jobs due to scheduling conflicts with my classes, I was unsure how I would pay for school. I’ve been applying for scholarships and looking at other jobs and loan options,” said Walker, who started the Accelerated Second Bachelor of Science in Nursing program last January and expects to graduate in May 2023. “When I heard I had received the GVHC scholarship, I was ecstatic and so very thankful. Now, I can channel my energy and time into studying for my classes.”
A student at the Stanislaus State Stockton Campus, Walker holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and once spent a semester studying in Uganda, caring for malnourished children in an orphanage and conducting a study on malaria and edema in malnourished patients.
“I have wanted to be a nurse for a very long time,” she said. “I have always had the desire to help others.”
Scholarship recipients were selected based on the applicants’ academic performance, financial need and the application letters submitted. All recipients come from communities within the GVHC service area.
Awarded each June, the scholarship application period opens in the spring. For more information about the scholarship and GVHC, visit the organization’s website.