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2017 RCRS Scholar Jinelle Scully

Scholarships Encourage Nontraditional Students in New Career Directions

Did you know that the LANL Foundation offers support for adults returning to education?

Scholarships offered through the  Los Alamos Employees’ Scholarships Fund (LAESF) for Northern New Mexicans seeking higher education are not just for students straight out of high school, and no affiliation with the Lab is required.

The Regional College/Returning Student (RCRS) Scholarship provides $1,000 to nontraditional students pursuing two-year degrees or certifications. With this funding, LAESF is able to help positively impact the education and career direction of adults who took time off to raise a family, served in the military, or are seeking a new job opportunity or advancement in their current profession.

Expanded Career Opportunity through Education

Jinelle Scully is one of the RCRS winners who went back to school with this support. With prior education in health administration from Alaska Pacific University but no degree, she spent a decade working in Alaska in rural communities and Tribal villages as a Head Start coordinator and at a children’s psychiatric treatment center and youth shelter. She’s also been a dedicated caregiver to family and friends and has personally struggled through chronic pain, obesity and addiction.

After relocating to New Mexico, Jinelle worked for the Department of Health in disease prevention and provided substance abuse support services. She knew that pursuing a degree in nursing would allow her to be even more effective in her work. The associate’s degree program at Santa Fe Community College was a good fit, but paying for it stood in her way.

“I remember thinking that even if I could get in, I would never be able to pay for college,” she recalls. “The Returning Student award was the spark I needed.”

In addition to the nursing degree, Jinelle became trained in Acu-detox, an acupuncture technique for treating addiction, and volunteered at a homeless shelter. She’s active in several community organizations and promotes overall health and wellness in her own life and in support of others through counseling, exercise, nutrition, stress management and healthy relationships. She is currently working on her Yoga Teacher Training to incorporate this into her practice someday.

“I am passionate about addiction treatment and how trauma impacts our health. I want to explore alternative treatment, offer a comprehensive menu of options and integrate food as medicine into my practice,” she said.

Jinelle’s journey is now continuing at SFCC as she works toward a bachelor of science degree in nursing, in partnership with the University of New Mexico. Pursuing this four-year degree after the two-year associates degree made Jinelle eligible for one of the higher-level LAESF awards. She applied and was chosen to receive a $1,250 yearly Bronze scholarship for the remainder of her studies.

“As I continue my education I hope to become a family nurse practitioner providing integrative health services, and dedicate my service to rural and Tribal areas and also to addiction prevention and treatment.”

With this and other funding from the New Mexico Higher Education, Nursing Service loan, she was able to leave her job with the New Mexico Health Equity Partnership at the Santa Fe Community Foundation to focus solely on her studies.

“This scholarship reduces my reliance on student loans and boosts my confidence to continue on the road to good health for myself and others in my community,” she said. “This scholarship was a seed planted in service to the people of New Mexico, that surely will bloom.”

Supporting Scholarships that Reflect Donor Values

Not everyone who seeks higher learning needs a four-year college degree to accomplish their goals. Some education goals begin with pursuite of two-year degree or certificate and expand later on, as was the case for  Jinelle. This is why the RCRS scholarship was created.

As a donor, you can make a contribution directly to the RCRS fund and support professional development for nontraditional students like Jinelle. You can also designate your giving to other funds that resonate with your values.

All scholarship winners meet the LAESF academic criteria and reside in one of the seven counties of Northern New Mexico. Some specific funds support awards that go to students with additional qualifications such as:

  • First-generation college students
  • Native American students
  • Native Americans pursuing business degrees
  • Outstanding leadership and merit
  • Financial need
  • Resiliency and determination
  • Residency in certain communities
  • Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) degrees
  • Fields of study other than STEM

Please Donate

For LAESF and the future of Northern New Mexico, Education is Mission Critical. A well-trained workforce affects us all in our worlkaces and in our communities. Please support this mission with a donation to LAESF.

Scholarships are primarily funded by the Los Alamos National Laboratory workforce and LANL, but anyone can give.

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