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Pioneers district awards three nursing scholarships

June 04, 2002|STAFF REPORT

BRAWLEY — Kathleen Dean, Esmeralda Gastelo and Jesse Rivas have been awarded four-year nursing scholarships for Imperial Valley College from Pioneers Memorial Hospital District.

Chosen from seven applicants, the students' two years as undergrads and two years as nursing students at IVC will be financed by the hospital district. This includes tuition, books, parking, uniforms and other necessities, according to Pioneers board

President Katy Santillan.

The newly formed scholarship program is the result of brainstorming by the Pioneers personnel committee. Addressing the need for recruiting nurses to the area, Marcus Tapia, a Pioneers board member and the board's personnel committee chairman, broached the question of recruiting from local high schools.

"Have we ever touched home base?" Tapia queried. "Have we ever contacted the high schools? We need to recruit and we need to start them straight out of high school so that they can stay focused."

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With that in mind, the committee established a criterion with the help of the hospital's women's auxiliary scholarship guidelines. The auxiliary has granted more than $131,000 in scholarships to first- and second-year nursing students since 1952.

Once the application process was completed, a committee was formed to screen and choose this year's recipients.

"That was the hard part," stated Donna Morgan, Pioneers' human resources director. "They were all so special."

All three seniors selected feel special to have received scholarships.

"I feel very lucky and happy," said Gastelo, daughter of Gabriel and Lucia Gastelo of Brawley.

Gastelo has dreamed of being a nurse since she lost her younger brother to cancer seven years ago.

"That just made me want to help people even more so," she said.

She began by joining the Regional Occupational Program's nursing program at

Brawley Union High. During the past year Gastelo has earned the basic life support and certified nursing assistant certificates.

Kathleen Dean, daughter of Ernest and Susan Dean of Brawley, joined the BUHS internship program and has been working in the Pioneers emergency department. She has logged additional volunteer hours in there at the request of department manager, Robyn Atadero. Dean is following in the footsteps of her mother, a nurse. Although Dean prefers "the fast pace" of the emergency department, she would like to experience all departments, including pediatrics where she can interact with kids.

Jesse Rivas, son of Jesse and Gloria Rivas of Calipatria, earned his basic life support and certified nursing assistant certificates through the Calipatria High School nursing Regional Occupational Program. He prefers the "fast pace" of the emergency department. His ultimate goal is to become a nurse practitioner.

"We are looking forward to the future," said Santillan. "We are reaching out to our community and its needs. This is just the first of many scholarships."

"Scholarships for nursing and ancillary positions will continue year after year," agreed Richard Mendoza, Pioneers administrator. "This is an example of our board reaching out to the community by offering opportunities for worthwhile careers as well as excellent medical services for the entire Valley."

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