A scholarship could transform health care a world away
As a child growing up in Nigeria, Kendra Stephen's life changed when her grandmother was struck by a debilitating illness that robbed her of her ability to walk. After trying unsuccessfully to find a suitable health care facility in their home country, her parents arranged for her to come to the United States for medical treatment.
"The professionalism and devotion of the health care workers inspired both me and my twin sister, Nina, to become nurses," says Stephen, who was born in the Detroit area but raised in Nigeria. "The U.S. hospital where my grandma was receiving treatment provided her with at-home nurses. I was awed by the devotion, time, and effort that were poured into caring for my grandmother. It was like nothing I'd ever seen before."
That experience also inspired her to strive to spearhead change in Nigeria's nursing profession. Stephen plans to work as a registered nurse stateside for a few years before enrolling in graduate school. Then, she and her sister plan to return to Nigeria to become health care change agents.
When that day comes, it will be in part because of the generosity of donors. While a student in the College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Stephen distinguished herself academically and earned a prestigious Dream Makers scholarship.
Since 2002, the Dream Makers Scholarship program has benefited promising students who go on to positively impact the lives of their patients and effect change in the health care industry.
Stephen spoke at last year's Dream Makers Scholarship Luncheon, held annually the first Monday in March. The event is an opportunity for students to meet the donors who have helped enable them to make their dreams come true.
"Through this scholarship offer, I found an inner joy and extra motivation to keep striving for my dreams," says Stephen, who along with her twin graduated last May. "I am inspired by the fact that many individuals—specifically our donors—see potential in my schoolmates and me and strongly bet on our success."