Ashley Triolo, a sophomore at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s Jackson County Campus, is the only Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) student in the state to win a Mississippi Nurses Foundation Award. The $78,000 in awards was given out statewide from funds raised through the State of Mississippi Nurse Car Tag Program – Nurses Touch Lives.
Thirteen recipients were chosen from associate, baccalaureate, RN-to-BSN, master’s, and doctoral programs in both public and private colleges and universities in the state.
As the only ADN student chosen, Triolo said she felt honored and a little nervous when accepting the scholarship at a ceremony held in Madison on August 1. “It was an incredible feeling to be the first and only ADN student to receive the award,” she said. “I was thrilled, of course, but also a little scared about being recognized in front of a crowd of nursing professionals and other nursing students.”
Each recipient is awarded a total of $6,000 to be received in increments of $500 each month for 12 months beginning this month and continuing through July 2015. Triolo said the money will help her purchase texts, which, for nursing students, can be very expensive. It will also allow her to cut her hours working in the Singing River Hospital Emergency Room from full time to part time. “It is tough going to school for nursing when you are also working full time and have two young children,” she said. Her son, Kase Jr., or K.J., is 6, while her daughter, Savannah Jane, is 3. “My husband [Kase Sr.] is wonderful support for me and does so much to take the slack so I have time to study and go to classes. He works long hours as well, though, so the scholarship is going to make a huge difference for us.”
With the encouragement of her MGCCC nursing instructors, Triolo said she plans to continue through school and eventually become a nurse practitioner. “I have had the most awesome instructors at Gulf Coast, especially in nursing,” she said. “They have not only supported me academically and helped mold me, but they have also helped me figure out what I want to do in my career and are doing all they can to support my success in reaching that goal.”
Originally from St. Petersburg, Florida, the 28-year-old said she wants to stay on the Mississippi Coast and perhaps even teach nursing at MGCCC. “I think I would probably want to work in a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital as well,” she said. “But I also want to make the same kind of impact on future nursing students as my instructors here have made on me. I could definitely see myself coming back and teaching at Gulf Coast, at least part time.”