Nursing alumna creates merit award fellowship for doctoral students
A School of Nursing alumna has created a new merit award fellowship to assist doctoral nursing students.
Karen J. Radke, PhD, RN, a 1964 graduate of the nursing program at Loma Linda University School of Nursing, developed this fellowship as the only one of its kind in the School of Nursing. It is also the first of its kind in the Faculty of Graduate Studies.
“This was an area that hadn’t been addressed yet,” she says.
The fellowship provides $10,000 a year to doctoral students to be used for cost of living and dissertation research expenses.
To be eligible for the award, the student must be full-time and in good standing. Priority for the fellowship is given to members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The fellowship is given to one doctoral student per entering class for the first two years of full-time study. To receive a second year of the fellowship, the student must demonstrate satisfactory progress.
“It’s really a merit award for being outstanding,” says Dr. Radke. “There really are no strings attached. This fellowship is given to outstanding applicants who show the highest potential for academic and professional success.”
According to Dr. Radke, there are many valid reasons for this new fellowship program.
“There are loans available, but oftentimes the cost of living in Southern California causes hesitation for prospective Loma Linda University students,” she adds.
Also international applicants with temporary or student visas are not eligible for individual pre-doctoral funding from the National Institute of Nursing Research, National Institutes of Health, so the fellowship can assist with dissertation research expenses.
With a critical shortage of doctorally prepared nurses, fellowship awards such as these become crucial, says Dr. Radke.
“I strongly believe that nurse leaders need to be doctorally prepared,” she says. “Because this is a new program, I hope it will help recruit nurses for the PhD program.
“I always felt that I had an excellent nursing education at Loma Linda, but never realized how solid my education was until I continued with my graduate studies,” Dr. Radke notes.
After receiving her master’s degree from Boston University, Dr. Radke worked in the home care department at Loma Linda University Medical Center. She served on the faculty at LLUSN for three years (1969 to 1972). During that period of time, Dr. Radke participated in the development and implementation of the first baccalaureate degree program in nursing in Jamaica in conjunction with West Indies College (now Northern Caribbean University) and under the auspices of Loma Linda University.
After Dr. Radke joined the University of Tennessee as faculty, she knew she wanted a career in academics. She attended Indiana University Medical School, and earned a PhD in physiology.
Dr. Radke worked as a faculty member in both the School of Nursing and the School of Medicine at University of Rochester, New York, for 13 years. After serving as professor and associate dean, School of Nursing; and professor of physiology, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Dr. Radke retired in 2002.
After retiring, she wanted to continue helping nurses become doctorally prepared.
“When the doctoral program began, it became clear that this was the area I felt I could be of the most help,” she says.
According to Dr. Radke, there are many opportunities for alumni to help struggling nursing students.
“I really want to encourage other alumni to give back to the next generation of nurses,” she adds. “Alumni have a responsibility to give back to their alma mater.
“God has been wonderfully good to me and I pray that He blesses this small gift to help others achieve their academic and professional goals.”
By Dustin R. Jones, MA