WWA scholarship allows nurse to pursue passion
Tiffany Mendel has always known she wanted to teach.
Whether teaching exercise classes at Hummer Sports Park or, in her current role, educating family members as a registered nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Stormont-Vail HealthCare, Mendel, bsn ’12, has been able to satisfy her love of teaching through opportunities provided by her Washburn education.
Mendel’s path to a nursing degree was unique. When she started School of Nursing classes in the fall of 2010 at the age of 38, she was going through a divorce. She and her son, who at the time was in eighth grade, moved in with her friend of 23 years, Laura Sidlinger, a lecturer in the nursing school.
That’s why the scholarship she received from Washburn Women’s Alliance (WWA) had such an impact.
“Before my divorce, I only qualified for loans, and WWA helped tremendously in terms of the amount of loans I had to take out,” Mendel said. “The help I’ve received has been amazing.”
Mendel enrolled at Washburn in 2008 while working at Hummer Sports Park. She resumed her education after attending Emporia State University for a year following high school. Mendel was drawn to nursing because of her interest in health care.
“I realized that nursing would fulfill both my passion to care for others and my love of teaching,” she said.
While taking prerequisite classes at Washburn, Mendel received her Certified Nursing Assistant certificate in January of 2009 from Pratt Community College so she could work as a patient care technician at Stormont-Vail. She became a registered nurse in May of 2012.
Sidlinger said Mendel’s caring nature makes her a great nurse.
“She believes in herself and the abilities of others,” Sidlinger said. “That’s what makes her good at being a nurse, especially in the NICU. She’s compassionate with parents.”
With the ultimate goal to teach, Mendel wants to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing and a Doctorate of Nursing Practice. She said she appreciates the opportunities that WWA has provided her.
“I can’t thank WWA enough for their support,” she said. “It’s one of the few scholarship programs I know of that offers both undergraduate and graduate degree help.”
A version of this story appeared in the August 2013 issue of The Ichabod.