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Carolyn MacDougall Awarded Helene Fuld Health Trust Grant

April 18, 2016

Carolyn MacDougall, a nursing student in the Accelerated Career Entry (ACE) BSN Program, is the newest recipient of a grant from the Helene Fuld Health Trust. The Helene Fuld Health Trust grant, which was first awarded to the College of Nursing and Health Professions in the summer of 2014, has allowed ACE students to make career changes and follow their dreams by giving them financial assistance that can oftentimes be the necessary support to keep them enrolled in the Program and on the road to pursuing a nursing career.

For students like MacDougall, that kind of assistance can be life changing. “The scholarship came up and I was blessed to get it,” said MacDougall. “It has helped me toward finishing this degree and not selling my house. It has been huge for me.” 

Most ACE students come from different backgrounds and professions before studying to become a nurse, and MacDougall is no different. Receiving her first degree in marketing from Pennsylvania State University in 1987, she bounced around the restaurant business before questioning what career she really wanted to pursue. “After a couple of months of intensive career counseling I got the idea that I should become a social worker, a nurse or a construction manager,” said MacDougall. “I was offered a scholarship as a construction management student, because I was a female in a male dominated field. So at that point in my life I went where the money would be, and the free education would be. That’s what I did until 2010.”

In 2010, MacDougall was laid off of her job as a construction manager and took a considerable amount of time off. She was put into a position where she felt she needed to begin looking for a career change, and for MacDougall, nursing felt like the field she was always meant to pursue. “Back in 2005, I took a couple of anatomy and physiology classes to see if I wanted to become a nurse, because it kind of paraded around in my head for a long time,” said MacDougall. “So when I was let go from my position in 2010 because of the poor economy and nobody building anymore, that’s when I started seriously thinking about it and taking classes a year or two later, and here I am.”

The ACE Program is a very intensive 11-month program, and can be daunting for some students. However this intensity doesn’t deter MacDougall, who has had her fair share of trials to overcome, but is passionate about wanting to become a nurse and is eager to make a change in her life. “I live alone, I own a house, and if you take a year off that can be quite scary, but taking more than a year off was even scarier,” said MacDougall. “Maxing out the home equities on my house and borrowing everything I could, that was kind of how I was getting through.”

MacDougall, who was also recently inducted into Sigma Theta Tau International Honor society of Nursing, is scheduled to complete the ACE program and finally begin her future career as a nurse this September. Thanks to the Helene Fuld Trust scholarship and the support from her faculty advisers and other members of the Drexel community, she is moving forward toward the career for she’s been waiting and working.