UTEP Awards Scholarships for Future Nursing Leaders

The UTEP School of Nursing has received $50,000 in funding to award five scholarships from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to educate culturally competent nursing leaders.

Silvia Olivares, John Reyna, Cristina Rodriguez, Rubi Santiesteban, and Rosalyn Taijeron each received a $10,000 scholarship through the RWJF New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program (NCIN) to enter UTEP’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing Fast Track Program during the 2012-13 academic year.Robert Wood Johnson fellows, from left: Silvia Olivares, Rubi Santiesteban, John Reyna, Cristina Rodriguez and Rosalyn TaijeronRobert Wood Johnson fellows, from left: Silvia Olivares, Rubi Santiesteban, John Reyna, Cristina Rodriguez and Rosalyn Taijeron

“The acknowledgement of being identified as one of the nation’s future health care leaders is an honor,” said School of Nursing Dean Elias Provencio-Vasquez, Ph.D., a 2009 RWJF Executive Nurse Fellow. “This is the second year that we receive the foundation’s support and that really illustrates how the UTEP School of Nursing is educating the next generation of nursing leaders not only for El Paso, but for the entire country.”

Developed in 2005, UTEP’s Fast Track program makes it possible for college graduates to transition to a career in nursing in just 12 months. The school started its eighth Fast Track cohort in May. To date, the program has graduated 175 students.

Reyna, Olivares and Santiesteban received bachelor’s degrees in biological sciences from UTEP in 2007, 2010, and 2011, respectively. Rodriguez earned her bachelor’s in criminal justice from UTEP in 2003. Taijeron received a Bachelor of Science in microbiology, immunology, and molecular genetics from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2005.

The students found the Fast Track program’s accelerated pace appealing, and they are looking forward to finishing their studies in one year and starting rewarding careers as nurses. 

In addition to receiving financial support, the students will be mentored by experienced nursing professionals who will work with them to hone their leadership skills.   

The NCIN program was created through RWJF and AACN to enable schools of nursing to expand student capacity in accelerated baccalaureate and master’s programs, and build a more diverse workforce ready to serve the needs of a changing patient population. Schools receiving grants through NCIN provide scholarships directly to students from groups underrepresented in nursing or from disadvantaged backgrounds.

For information on the UTEP Fast Track Program, contact Jana McCallister, Ph.D., BSN Fast Track director, at 915-747-7293.