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Supporting a lifelong dream

As a young girl, Elizabeth Wisnewski used to sit in her living room, watch medical dramas like ER and think about the life of a nurse.

“I’ve wanted to be a nurse since I was three,” Wisnewski said. “I knew I wanted to help people get better.”It wasn’t just a phase. At age four, she dressed as a nurse for Halloween. “No one in my family is in the medical field. I think it was just meant to be. I haven’t looked back since.”

Persistence has been crucial to her success. Elizabeth, or Liz as she is known by her friends and family, is now a junior at Research College of Nursing. She was recently elected as the president of the Research Student Nursing Association and plans to pursue wound care certification after graduation.

Liz was busy taking steps toward her dream in between the nurse costume and her current studies. At 16, she wanted to attend the Research College of Nursing Summer Nursing Experience designed for high school students. Liz is originally from the St. Louis area and didn’t have the means to travel to Kansas City for the four day camp. She applied for a scholarship from The Research Foundation, made available thanks to a grant from the R.A. Long Foundation, and was awarded funds to cover camp fees. The summer nursing camp was Liz’s first hands-on experience in the health care field.

“Nursing camp was a great experience. It allowed me to finally do the things I had said I wanted to do my entire life. It was no longer a blind pursuit. It opened up my eyes to something I had always talked about.”

Liz is now a camp counselor at the Summer Nursing Experience and shares her own experiences to help high school students decide if nursing is right for them.
After nursing camp sealed the deal, Liz began attending Research College of Nursing. She was awarded the Research Royal Roast Nursing Scholarship Award in 2015. The scholarship has allowed her to keep chasing her dream.

“I fell in love with the Research College of Nursing program. I didn’t even look at other programs. I wanted to be here," Wisnewski said. “Organizations like The Research Foundation have helped me stay where I want to be.”

Liz comes from a single mother home where her nursing dream was always encouraged but sometimes lacked financial support. She is the youngest of 26 cousins in her family and the first to go to college.

“Nursing camp wouldn’t have happened without the scholarship from The Research Foundation. It confirmed my decision to pursue nursing. These scholarships have taken a huge burden off the student loans I will have to pay back. This money has kept me here.”

She is determined that, no matter the amount, donations are helping shape careers.

“I’m going to donate to The Research Foundation after I graduate. It could change a career path. Being selected as a scholarship recipient made me realize I could stay where I wanted and that is priceless.”