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The Greater Value of Education

2018-03-07_SharkBytes_Henson-EvertzWhen Kelly Henson-Evertz, D.N.P., first became a nursing student an instructor told her that she would need to quit her job if she wanted to succeed in the program. Although her initial reaction was panic, Henson-Evertz persisted; she continued working and going to school. The reality was, she had no other option. Her family could not afford to help, and she wasn’t willing to give up her education and her dream of becoming a nurse.

Now, an assistant professor at NSU’s Ron and Kathy Assaf College of Nursing, Henson-Evertz wants to make sure students don’t face the same financial struggles she did in order to earn their degree. “It would have been great to receive scholarships along the way. I always ask my students, ‘Have you been on a scholarship site? Have you looked?’ I tell them they need to be writing letters and applying for these scholarships. It’s free money!”

Henson-Evertz created the Vincenzo Joseph Henson-Lo Iacono Memorial Changing Lives Scholarship in memory of her adopted brother Vinny, who suffered from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. She credits him as the reason she became a nurse. “I would do anything for my brother. In taking care of him, I realized that I wanted to help people be the best they could be.” The scholarship provides support for entry level nursing students.

Since establishing the scholarship, Henson-Evertz has met with some of its recipients and shared her brother’s story with them. This interaction has been impactful for her and the students.

“I believe in teaching people how to fish—not fishing for them. If you give people opportunities, they will rise to the occasion. They will succeed and become independent. Education gives you a better quality of life.” Her positive beliefs come from her parents, whom she describes as “stellar models of what it means to be a good human being.” Both were firm believers in education and giving back to the community. Additionally, her mother established the Edward P. and Juanita J. Henson Changing Lives Scholarship, named for herself and her late husband.