Mercy Students Enrolled in Accelerated Second Degree Nursing Program Awarded Prestigious Scholarships

Picture of nursing students Claudia and Janica

The New York Chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN) has awarded scholarships to two students enrolled in Mercy’s Accelerated Second Degree Nursing Program. Claudia Deiry ’23 received a NAHN-New York Chapter Scholarship, and Janica Grant ’23 was awarded the Jorge Prada Scholarship. Both awards are given to nursing students who demonstrate potential to become leaders in the nursing profession.

Deiry and Grant are also part of the Mercy College Weekend Nursing Mentorship Program, which launched in 2021 along with the Accelerated Second Degree Nursing Program. The weekend program pairs Mercy nursing students with members of the NAHN-New York Chapter who act as mentors to the prospective nurses.

“Claudia and Janica are deserving students, very active in the mentorship program as well as activities sponsored by the NAHN-New York Chapter,” Dr. Mirian Zavala, a visiting professor of nursing at Mercy College and president of the NAHN-New York Chapter said. “Their dedication to their studies and to the nursing profession made it very evident that both women are highly qualified for these awards.” The two will graduate with their nursing degrees in May 2023.

“Having members of the NAHN-New York Chapter serve as mentors provides nursing students with access to more opportunities that will help them develop their professional identity,” said Zavala. “For example, when Claudia expressed an interest in engineering, I was able to introduce her to a nursing professional who designs hospital units. Janica mentored with a NAHN-New York Chapter member she met at a chapter meeting. The mentor is a nurse anesthetist, which is the field Janica hopes to enter after graduation. This partnership can open many doors.”

Both the mentorship program and the weekend program are supported by a $3 million federal grant – Advancing Curricular Change to Enhance Student Success (ACCESS) – that was awarded to Mercy in 2020. The aim of the grant it to remove barriers to Hispanic and low-income students seeking careers in the health and natural sciences. As an activity director on the ACCESS grant, Zavala played a key role in developing the mentorship program in collaboration with the NAHN-New York Chapter.

“Mirian’s connection with NAHN-New York was essential to Mercy’s success in establishing the mentorship program,” said Dr. Joan Toglia, ACCESS grant project director and former dean of the Mercy College School of Health and Natural Sciences. “Her involvement in the national organization and her leadership role in the state chapter have provided many more opportunities for our students. It’s so important for them to make professional connections with successful nurses who come from the same background and understand the challenges they will face.”

Students and faculty at NAHN Gala
From left to right: Mercy College Accelerated Second Degree Nursing student Janica Grant '23; Mercy College Visiting Professor Mirian Zavala, DNS, RN, mentorship activity director and president-elect of NAHN-NY; Mercy College Accelerated Second Degree Nursing student Claudia Deiry '23.