Alyssa Sutton

By Alyssa Sutton

The Observer

Oregon and Health Science University’s School of Nursing in La Grande and Eastern Oregon University’s Wellness Program are gearing up for their fourth annual partnership event, which combines the Rita Monahan Walk-A-Thon and the university wellness fair.

The 18th annual event is to honor OHSU professor Rita Monahan who passed away in 1999 from colon cancer. Before her passing. Monahan requested a scholarship fund be created in her memory to help cover the cost of students’ nursing licensure examination, according to a press release from the university.

Last year in the nursing program, which usually sees a class from 22-26 students, 10 nursing students received the scholarship. In 2016, 13 students received the scholarship, which covers all of the costs of taking the licensure exam.

“The number of scholarships provided varies based upon our fundraising activities, and interest that has grown from the account,” Rebecca McCay, an OHSU clinical instructor on the La Grande campus said in an email. “In the last five years, there have been 31 scholarships awarded.”

This year, Monahan’s husband Greg Monahan, an EOU professor emeritus, will match up to $1,500 in donations, according to the press release.

Kayla Hall, who graduated from the nursing program last year, was one of the students who received the scholarship.

“(The scholarship) is extremely helpful when you’re just coming out of nursing school,” Hall said. Hall said she had a three week old baby at the time she graduated, and hadn’t worked while in school.

“It’s almost $300 to take the test. I wasn’t working as I was going through school, and it’s stressful and expensive. Then you get to the end and there’s still all of these costs, and the scholarship was super helpful,” said Hall, who was part of the honor society and graduated magna cum laude.

McCay said Hall is one of the students that embodies the spirit Monahan wished to reward with the scholarship set up in her name.

See complete story in Friday's Observer