“Grateful is an understatement for what these scholarships have helped me with!”
Elizabeth Herrera is a two-time WIT Scholarship recipient graduating this August with a master’s in nursing from the University of Arizona.
As a child, seeing her mother’s dedication to her job as a caregiver to the elderly, Elizabeth knew she wanted to become a nurse. After graduating high school in 2016, she attended the University of Arizona on a full scholarship and graduated in 2020 with a degree in family studies and human development. But nursing called out to her, and she applied to the University’s MEPN Program, an accelerated 15-month program for students with a BA or BS, leading to a Master of Science in Nursing. She applied for her first WIT Scholarship in May 2021 and was awarded $2,500.
Then things took an unexpected turn. Two weeks after starting the MEPN program, Elizabeth was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She took a medical leave of absence to figure out her health and life. After a nine-month break, she returned to school in May 2022 and was awarded a second WIT scholarship of $2,500. “The second scholarship helped me return to school after taking nine months off. It alleviated my stress by allowing me to focus on school and not have to take out loans. It enabled me to continue my dream of becoming a registered nurse.”
WIT’s unique mentoring program also helped: “My mentor really took time to get to know me. When I told her my diagnosis, she was extremely supportive and made me feel that I wasn’t alone. She reminded me of my worth and how my strength was an inspiration to her and the other mentors.”
When Elizabeth graduates, it will be as a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the international honors society of nursing, limited to students with a GPA of 3.5 or above. And she will have completed her preceptorship, a highly competitive training program open to only the top nursing students.
Elizabeth herself is amazed at the journey, which has brought her to this point:
“It’s crazy for me to believe that my first time in nursing school, I had to take a medical leave of absence, and now I am less than two months away from graduating nursing school with honors. I am a first-generation college graduate and soon-to-be master’s graduate. I am proud to be Latina, and one of my career goals is to bridge the gap of not enough Latina women in the nursing field because diversity and representation matter. And with my chronic disease, I can relate to my patients on a more personal level. I know I will be their advocate, cheerleader, and nurse all in one.”
The Women of Quail Creek is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the lives of women like Elizabeth Herrera through educational support. We are proud to have played a part in her journey. For more information, please contact [email protected].