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Scholarships support future generations of nurses

By The Health News Team | May 7, 2024
Scholarships support future generations of nurses

(L-R) Scholarship recipients Nancy Ledgerwood, Samantha Beck, Kearisten Wallace, Angie Casillas and Julie Lynn.

Kearisten Wallace was accepting her Katy Green & Cathy McJannet Nursing Scholarship at Sharp Coronado Hospital when she thought of how proud her 3-year-old daughter was of her. Wallace, a Sharp Coronado Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurse since 2020, hopes to become a nurse educator at the university level and a clinical nurse specialist on the ICU floor.

The scholarship goes a long way for Wallace, who is on track to finish her doctorate in nursing practice program at Point Loma Nazarene in fall 2027 — not just financially but also as a way to show her daughter that it’s possible to reach her goals.

Kearisten Wallace of San Diego

Kearisten Wallace hopes her passion for nursing shines through and makes a positive impact on her daughter.

“I want to show her that you can do whatever you put your mind to,” Wallace says. “I want her to do what makes her happy. I want her to do what she’s passionate about.”

The namesake of the scholarship

Despite retiring from working 30 years in Sharp emergency departments, McJannet has never lost her passion for nursing. In fact, she and Green are now volunteers with Sharp Coronado Hospital’s Auxiliary.

McJannet’s passion for the profession extends to helping other people become nurses, no matter their background. “I love the profession so much that I’m happy to do whatever I can to help them,” she says. “I know how hard it is to get into a nursing program, and how hard it is to have financial issues.”

It's partly why McJannet and Green, who combined have more than 70 years working as nurses, were honored to be the namesakes of the scholarships for Sharp Coronado Hospital employees by Coronado Hospital Foundation donors Dev Purkayastha and Wendy McGuire. Since the first ceremony in July 2022, 13 recipients have received scholarships, and six have already graduated.

Katy Green & Cathy McJannet at Sharp Coronado Hospital

Katy Green & Cathy McJannet are dedicated to helping nurses further their career.

“To make their lives a little bit easier means everything,” says McJannet, who also mentors prospective nurses at Coronado. “I have been a nursing educator and director of nursing programs for a number of years, so I know the toll it takes on nursing students, especially financially.”

A strong winter class

McJannet, Green and Sharp Coronado Hospital leadership awarded six scholarships at their most recent ceremony in January 2024. “Sharp’s offerings are amazing, and I needed to take advantage of this opportunity,” says Nancy Ledgerwood, who is earning her Bachelor of Science in nursing online through Western Governors University.

Julie Lynn is an emergency department registered nurse (RN) who is completing her master’s degree in fall 2024. Samantha Beck, an operating room technician, is set to become an RN this fall.

Two of the six recipients received scholarships for the second time: Brenda Hernandez, an endoscopy technician who is studying to become an RN; and Angie Casillas, a healthcare partner tech on the Acute Progressive CARE Unit, who is set to complete her RN program from the Marsha Fuerst School of Nursing.

“I want to learn all the skills I need to be able to help more people here and keep growing,” says Casillas, who brought her daughter, Laila, to the ceremony.

Having Laila cheer for her in the crowd nearly brought Casillas to tears. “She can see that you can accomplish everything you want if you work for it,” Casillas says.

Thinking of the future

Wallace, a first-generation college student, isn’t only thinking of inspiring her daughter. She wants to be a role model to the next generation of nurses. Doing that means leading by example.

“I’m not going to be a nurse forever, so there has to be someone after me,” Wallace says. “This is my way of giving back to the nursing community.”

Some of her students have come to her in awe, stunned that Wallace can work full time, attend class full time and be a mom. “My students will say, ‘Oh my god, Miss K, you do everything!’ And I respond, ‘I do, so you have no excuse,’” Wallace says with a laugh.

After the ceremony, Laurie Ecoff, vice president of the Terrence and Barbara Caster Institute for Nursing Excellence, approached Wallace. Since 2011, the Caster Nursing Institute has awarded over $1.9 million across 454 scholarships through the Sharp HealthCare Foundation.

Moved by Wallace’s speech and her ambition to support the future of nursing, Ecoff introduced herself to Wallace and then asked her a question: “Have you applied?”

Learn more about how to support the Coronado Hospital Foundation; get the latest health and wellness news, trends and patient stories from Sharp Health News; and subscribe to our weekly newsletter by clicking the "Sign up" link below.

Samantha Beck of San Diego at Sharp Coronado Hospital

Samantha Beck


Samantha Beck is an operating room technician at Sharp Coronado Hospital.

Angie Casillas of San Diego at Sharp Coronado Hospital

Angie Casillas


Angie Casillas is a healthcare partner tech on the Acute Progressive CARE Unit at Sharp Coronado Hospital.

Laurie Ecoff

Laurie Ecoff


Laurie Ecoff is Vice President of the Terrence and Barbara Caster Institute for Nursing Excellence.

Nancy Ledgerwood of San Diego at Sharp Coronado Hospital

Nancy Ledgerwood


Nancy Ledgerwood is a nurse in the Ambulatory Surgery Center at Sharp Coronado Hospital.

Julie Lynn of San Diego at Sharp Coronado Hospital

Julie Lynn


Julie Lynn is a nurse in the Emergency Department at Sharp Coronado Hospital.

Kearisten Wallace of San Diego at Sharp Coronado Hospital

Kearisten Wallace


Kearisten Wallace is an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurse with Sharp Coronado Hospital.

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