Donors turn lifelong nursing dream into a reality

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Her dream was always the same.

“When I was a little girl, I remember being asked the infamous question: ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?'” Myrranda Essex said. “And unlike some children, I always gave the same answer: ‘I want to be a nurse.'”

Myrranda grew up in Morrill, Neb. She graduated from high school in 2009. She’s now a nursing student at UNMC’s College of Nursing-Scottsbluff Division.

Myrranda has less than a year to go to reach her dream. She’ll graduate next May.

The other day at a luncheon in Scottsbluff, Myrranda stood in front of a group of College of Nursing professors, donors and peers – scholarship recipients like herself – and told her story.

The story, she said, isn’t about her. She’s merely a representative of all the students and scholarship recipients – a “face” to show what private money can do for a student.

Myrranda said she wants to work as a nurse in her community when she graduates, and give back. She’s not sure what area of nursing she wants to do yet.

“I haven’t really met a field of nursing I don’t like.”

But if she’s helping, she said, she’ll be happy.

She wants to be a role model to her two little boys, ages 3 and 1, who’ve kept her extremely busy while pursuing her dream. (Being a mom to them, she said, is actually “the best job in the world.”)

Role models, she said, are important. She had a lot of them in her community.

One was her dad. They were a lot alike. He loved to learn. He taught her to live a life full of curiosity, to pursue her education dreams. Myrranda was just 15 when he passed away.

Another role model was her older sister. She was a senior airman in the Air Force. She and her sister were best friends. Three years ago, her sister died in an accident.

That was when Myrranda’s oldest son was just 6 months old.

“When this tragedy hit, it took all I had to continue to keep moving – for myself, and for my family. I strongly considered taking a semester off, but I decided against that, and I’m so glad I did.

“As hard as it was, I continued my education, which was the best decision I could have made.”

Then she spoke directly to the donors in the crowd.

“My story, however, could not have made it this far if it wasn’t for all of you sitting here today. Scholarships have literally helped make my dream come true. Because of your generous donations, students like myself are able to achieve their goals, that otherwise may not have been possible.”

Scholarships aren’t just about schooling, she said. They are about opportunity. Faith. Hope.

They are the encouragement to pursue a dream.

Recently, Myrranda was going through some old files from high school. She found her first resume, the one she wrote for class her freshman year.

This was her “education objective”:

Obtain my Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing and become a Registered Nurse.

Following your dream can be difficult, she said. But a network of support makes the burden easier to bear.

“My sister used to tell me how she wanted to be a scholarship donor for our small communities or students going into the military. I didn’t understand then, but now I do. I know how much it makes a difference.

“In the future, I’d like to give back to students who are just like me.”

Raising money for a new nursing building in Lincoln is among the top dreams of UNMC in the Campaign for Nebraska. The University of Nebraska must raise $5.5 million in private funds in order to secure the $12 million in public funds appropriated by the Nebraska Legislature for that new building in Lincoln and the expansion opportunities the new space will provide.

If you would like to help the UNMC College of Nursing, please consider giving online or contact the foundation’s Sarah Carlson at 800-432-3216 or 402-502-4113.

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