Hannah Bascomb knows what it is to give back. A native of Saltillo, she grew up in a family that valued education, and from an early age she knew she wanted to be in the healthcare field. With limited financial resources, she didn’t know if her dream would be possible. She was encouraged to look at The W, but “I couldn’t afford it,” she said.

A four-year scholarship changed that. She entered The W as a pre-nursing freshman, and, as a junior, was admitted to the bachelor’s degree program in nursing. “It was a hard, wonderful program,” she recalled. “I wasn’t a model student, but I learned so much and I learned what it is to be a professional.

“My younger sister also went to The W,” she said. “I know the value of scholarships, and I encouraged her to attend because of my wonderful experience here.”

Finishing her degree with Honors in 2008, she worked in a neonatal intensive care unit for several years. But education continued to call, and in 2011 she earned her master’s degree in nursing from the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Reed and BascombIn 2011, Bascomb began to teach in The W’s nursing program on the Columbus campus, and in 2013, she moved to the Tupelo RN to BSN program to teach. She is currently also working on a second master’s in health education. “The W has been pivotal to my success, and I aspire to give back to The W and enable other students to join the Long Blue Line,” she said.

This spring, she put her desire into enthusiastic action, challenging currently enrolled Tupelo BSN students to join the Alumni Association. She has a longer-term goal of starting a nursing alumni chapter. At last count, her efforts had generated 128 new memberships from the Tupelo campus and $5,125 for the Alumni Association.

“We are so very grateful for Hannah’s involvement and loyalty in giving back to The W,” said Andrea Stevens, executive director of development and alumni. ” Hannah’s passion and contagious W spirit are the keys to the increase in alumni membership, for which we are very appreciative and excited. Alumni participation, whether it comes from volunteerism through the MUW Alumni Association or contributions to the MUW Foundation, helps the university remain competitive and appealing to current and future students. Every day we hear students express their gratitude for their scholarship, and many times receiving a scholarship makes the difference in whether or not a student will attend or continue college.”

Two participants in the RN to BSN program say they value the relationships formed through The W and especially appreciate becoming members of a network of current and future alumni.

BryantLike Hannah Bascomb, Will Bryant has a heart for giving. A graduate of Ole Miss with a degree in history, he joined the Peace Corps after deciding against a teaching career. Assigned to Senegal in West Africa, he worked as an agroforestry volunteer. “Basically, I helped integrate trees into agriculture with projects like wind breaks, fire breaks, live fencing, alley cropping, orchard development, and providing whatever help I could to my village.”

That small village of about 100—Sinthian Kortiba—was “located about 25 kilometers from. . . well, anything really,” Bryant said. Describing his time in Africa as “an amazing experience,” Bryant said he “met wonderful people and learned so much about what actually matters to me.” There, he found his calling to be a nurse.

On his return to the U.S., Bryant landed a job as an emergency room technician and began studies that allowed him to earn his R.N. degree in 2015 from Holmes Community College. After passing the national certification exam, he became a staff nurse in the emergency room at St. Dominic’s Hospital in Jackson. He continues to do that while pursuing his bachelor of science in nursing through The W’s online RN to BSN program.

“I started the program last fall and hope to finish by the end of the summer,” he said. “I chose The W for many reasons: my mother went to school here, friends have been in the program before, the high ranking of the nursing program, the cost, but most importantly to me, the ease of access.” He has been so happy with the quality of the education that he hopes to continue at The W and become a nurse practitioner.

His experiences have made him value the opportunities allowed through becoming a member of the Alumni Association. “I think it’s money well spent to join such an august body of my peers!”

Jamare Reed, also in the RN to BSN program, believes in giving back to the nursing program and in the value of helping others. Born in Biloxi, he grew up in a foster group home in Sturgis, Miss., where he lived until he was 18. Always seeking to excel, Reed became valedictorian of his West Oktibbeha High School graduating class.

His academic credentials helped him earn a full scholarship to Northeast Mississippi Community College, where he received an RN degree and became a Certified Medical Assistant and credentialed in respiratory therapy. While he works on his BSN degree, he also is working at Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi in Oxford and North Mississippi Medical Center-Pontotoc. He frequently pulls 12-hour weekend shifts, as well as weekday night shifts.

“In Oxford, I work in the ICU and in Pontotoc in medical surgery,” he said.

Long work days—and nights—make studies challenging, and he often does classwork after he gets off work at 7 a.m. But he doesn’t want to stop when he earns his BSN in August. “I want to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist,” he said, adding that he’d like to continue his studies at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga.

At a recent nurse alumni gathering in Tupelo, Reed was awarded a $500 scholarship from the Mississippi Hospital Association Organization of Nurse Executives. The organization is composed of nurses who design, facilitate, and manage care. The Northeast Council is one of eight groups comprising MHA-ONE in the state.

“The Northeast Council has an annual conference and the $500 scholarship was provided as a result of profit from the event,” Bascomb said. “Jamare was chosen from our current class of 328 students based on his academic performance, leadership ability, professionalism and outstanding community service participation.”

Reed credits The W with giving him a foundation for success. “My experience at The W has been fantastic,” he said. “It has prepared me mentally, physically and emotionally to contribute to the profession. I have become much more confident in a leadership role.”

That’s one reason he wants to be part of the Alumni Association. “It will allow me to engage with other nurses and give back to the nursing profession and to the school,” he said. “I would encourage current students to become involved because it gives you a network in your profession.” A newly minted member of the Alumni Association, Reed says it’s just the beginning for him. “I plan to stay engaged with The W.”


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