“Nurses have no status in my country (Nepal). In fact, people think that they are low-level workers . . . but I have a different perspective. I want to prove that nurses are not just workers, but also planners, managers, and helpers and they are smart as well. Most importantly, nurses are compassionate.”
Graduate Scholarship Recipient
PROFILE: At age 20, Uma Sitaula left her home in a small farming community in a picturesque area of Nepal to come to the United States to study nursing. She landed at Red Rocks Community College in Lakewood, CO, a good-sized city west of Denver. Uma, then 20, didn’t know anyone, but at least the nearby Rocky Mountains reminded her of her native land nestled in the Himalayan Mountains “where the earth meets the sky” as the travel brochures like to say. All was going well for Uma for a while as she had no trouble adapting to the new culture and language and enjoyed the clinical portion of her training having been an ICU trainee nurse back in Nepal prior to coming to the States. Then, almost overnight, Uma faced uncertainty when massive floods destroyed her family’s farm in Nepal and her father could no longer provide financial support. How was she going to survive? The administration at Red Rocks College stepped in, provided counsel and support and helped Uma find work. Splitting her time as a full-time cashier at a gas station and as a part-time audio-visual assistant on campus, Uma somehow was still able to concentrate on her studies. The result being a perfect 4.0 grade point average and a scholarship from the Foundation, allowing her to concentrate on her nursing studies instead of making change at the gas station.
INSPIRATION: Linda Yazdni, the international student advisor at Red Rocks Community College “influenced me the most by showing her amazing strength and generosity.” Ms. Yazdni helped Uma obtain employment authorization based on economic hardship so that she could work off campus. “Thus, Linda is one of the reasons that I survived in the United States.”
ASPIRATION: “For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a nurse,” said Uma. “Nurses are the ones who bring happiness to patients through their care and affection . . . nursing is about helping others and saving lives.” Ultimately she would like to attend medical school.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE: For Uma, being a Cooke Scholar has made all the difference in the world. Because of the scholarship “I was recognized at the graduation ceremony. My friends were inspired, my parents were proud, my instructors and supervisors recognized my hard work. What can be greater than that for a girl like me who was born and raised in one of the remote centers of civilization?”
ACCOLADES: Uma received the Phi Theta Kappa All State Academic Award as well as the honor society’s Outstanding Academic Achievement Award.
INTERESTING FACT: In addition to nursing, Uma might consider a future on talk-radio. “I am the most talkative person ever,” Uma admitted. “I can’t stay quiet for more than five minutes or I will fall asleep.”
Other Scholars Like Uma
Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government
Pacific University School of Occupational Therapy