Scholarships Break Through Social Stigma for BSN Student
One of the things Michael L., BSN ’19, wanted most growing up was to be a “superhero.” Now he’s a second-year nursing student on the verge of graduating from Samuel Merritt University. Michael received multiple scholarships at SMU that allowed him to focus on school and learn to save lives—about as close to superhero status as a mere mortal could hope for.
Michael received scholarships from SMU’s general scholarship fund and the Anna C. Barnard LGBTQIA Pride Scholarship, for students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or intersexed and who are involved in the LGBTQIA community.
What program are you in and what are your career aspirations?
I’m in the BSN program and I aspire to have a long career as a nurse working in critical care. I’m currently being precepted in the ICU at Kaiser Oakland and have been loving every single minute of the experience—from piecing together complex pathophysiology to making sense of a patient’s presentation and the interventions involved to the adrenaline that comes with rapid response situations.
Was there a particular event that motivated you to pursue nursing?
I initially felt college wasn’t for me, so I joined the Army and was supposed to be a medical specialist according to my aptitude test. I was medically discharged for treatment of hyperthyroidism. The idea of being in the medical field seemed like the way to go because it’s a highly respected field and it was the closest I could get to being a superhero and saving lives. I couldn’t be happier with the way things have worked out so far.
How did scholarships help you?
Growing up gay during a time when it was socially unacceptable, I wanted nothing more than to be included and respected. Receiving this scholarship affirmed the fact that my story matters and, more importantly, that my hard work and ambition to be a great nurse is recognized and supported. This unexpected blessing helped relieve some financial stress off my shoulders and allowed me to invest that energy into my studies. I am thankful and honored to have been chosen as a recipient.