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ASU doctoral students awarded prestigious nursing grant


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Edson College had two doctoral students selected as Jonas Nurse Scholars for the 2021–23 cohort.

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January 31, 2022

Two doctoral students enrolled in Arizona State University’s Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation have been awarded grants from Jonas Philanthropies, a leading national philanthropic funder of graduate nursing education.

The student recipients are Shaina Welch, who is pursuing a doctor of nursing practice degree, and Kelly Edmondson, who is pursuing a PhD.

Becoming a Jonas Nurse Scholar is a big deal. The program is highly competitive and awards are reserved for nursing scholars whose research and clinical focus specifically address our nation’s most urgent health care needs.

Edson College’s new Jonas Nurse Scholars are part of the 2021–23 cohort of more than 75 scholars pursuing graduate degrees at 49 universities across the country whose doctoral work will focus on such critical health priorities as environmental health, vision health, psych-mental health and/or veterans health. 

“Being a Jonas Nurse Scholar is a tremendous honor, and I feel privileged that I have been allowed to give back to the veteran community,” Welch said. 

poses for a headshot in a white blouse with her hair over one shoulder against a grey backdrop.

Shaina Welch

It’s a project that is personal for Welch. She’s worked as a registered nurse at the Phoenix VA for more than six years. For her doctoral project, Welch is working with the Phoenix VA in evaluating tools and resources that are evidence-based in assessing effective ways to screen veterans who may need additional resources in helping to manage their diabetes at home.

“I appreciate and admire the dedication of the men and women who have served this country. As I work to become a nurse practitioner, I am determined to use advanced practice skills to provide advanced level care and practice to the veteran population,” she said.

The grant will empower and support Welch and Edmondson, who was not available to participate in this story, with financial assistance, leadership development and networking. Ultimately, these grants are intended to help expand the pipeline of future nursing faculty, researchers and advanced practice nurses.

“These experiences will provide a solid foundational base and directionality for Shaina’s doctoral project focusing on veterans with diabetes mellitus. As her project mentor, I look forward to supporting her journey as she works to sustainably improve the health of our local veteran community,” said Edson College Clinical Assistant Professor Erin Tharalson.

As new Jonas Nurse Scholars, Welch and Edmondson join more than 1,000 alumni representing 157 universities across all 50 states. In doing so, they’re also representing and furthering ASU’s Charter and Edson College’s values.

“Having students from your program selected as Jonas Nurse Scholars is always a source of pride,” Edson College Dean Judith Karshmer said. “We prepare students to take on health care’s biggest challenges so they can improve outcomes for the patients and communities they serve. Our values and the mission of Jonas Philanthropies align in this way. I know I personally look forward to seeing what Shaina and Kelly are able to discover and implement during their time as scholars and advanced practitioners.” 

Donald Jonas, who co-founded Jonas Philanthropies with his late wife Barbara Jonas, says every year he grows more in awe of what the scholars have achieved, and that welcoming and celebrating this new cohort of nurse leaders is an honor.

“We look forward to continuing our work with our partner nursing schools and expanding our impact to advance care for the country’s most vulnerable populations,” he said.

To learn more about the Jonas Nurse Scholars program and see the impact alumni have made, visit jonasphilanthropies.org.

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