Scholarships mean opportunity, and the van Amerongen family of Cincinnati feels strongly that nursing students at the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing be given the opportunity to advance in his or her career.
That opportunity comes in the form of a $10,000 gift—named the Susan and Derek van Amerongen Scholarship Fund—which will be awarded in two increments to a nursing student pursuing an advanced practice degree, such as an MSN or PhD in nursing, which typically takes two years.
The first increment will be awarded in Fall 2011.
"We are both very interested in health care issues and we know that an underserved area of funding is to help graduate nurses get the specialized training to become advanced nurse practitioners,” says Derek van Amerongen, MD, who, as the chief medical officer for Humana, Ohio, knows more than a little about health care, as does his wife, Susan, who holds a nursing degree.
"We met in the health care field,” he says of being a practicing obstetrician when he met and married Susan, an OB-GYN nurse at the time. Today, Susan works in administration at Crayons to Computers, the Cincinnati non-profit that provides free school supplies to teachers.
Van Amerongen says he was introduced to the UC College of Nursing three years ago, by former Dean Andrea Lindell, who asked him to sit on the college’s board of trustees, which oversees scholarship disbursements.
"This position and my experience as a physician lent firsthand knowledge to how important it is to develop a strong core of nurses,” he says.
That, and "we really believe in public education and giving back in both hours and time," says his wife, adding that all three of their adult children—Corrie, 25, Greg, 23 and Gracie, 18—are good examples of practicing these beliefs. Their eldest daughter is a University of Maryland graduate who served in Ecuador in the Peace Corps for two years and works as the Hispanic Outreach Coordinator at the Women’s Center of Cincinnati. Their son attends OSU and is spending the summer in Puerto Rico as an exchange student and their youngest starts her freshman year at OSU in the fall.
The scholarship award is written to provide preference to a Hispanic student or one who plans to serve the Hispanic community, says Brian Hurst, senior director of development for the UC Foundation, which manages monetary gifts.
The van Amerongen’s gift, Hurst says, is part of a larger campaign initiative to raise scholarship dollars for the College of Nursing’s graduate programs, where students either want to track directly into a graduate program from a bachelor’s degree or hold full-time jobs and have limited reimbursement plans or private resources.
"Both my wife and I remember the challenging times when we were students, especially the stress of juggling school, work and worries over money. We are gratified to have the opportunity to help a student achieve his or her goal to become a nursing professional and serve the Cincinnati community.”