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Two B-CU nursing students receive scholarships

August 7, 2007

While working as a social worker, Vanessa Montesdeoca noticed an alarming trend while encountering a young Spanish-speaking mother. Her child had been diagnosed with Down syndrome.
“Without enough qualified Spanish-speaking health care staff, this young mother did not fully understand her son’s condition,” Montesdeoca said. “With a growing Hispanic population, I wanted to help and become a nurse.”
Allyson Martin also left her first career to become a nursing student.
“I left my job in corporate America to go back to school,” Martin said. “I was always interested in health care, and I wanted to do something more personal and helpful to people.”
Both Martin and Montesdeoca are nursing students at Bethune-Cookman University and will join a profession that demands a minimum of 6,000 new nurses just to answer Florida’s current needs.
In honor of their dedication to nursing and performance in the classroom, Martin and Montesdeoca were selected to receive the 2006-2007 BCBSF Endowed Scholarship for Nursing.
The BCBSF Endowed Scholarship for Nursing is awarded annually at Bethune-Cookman to two or three students who demonstrate academic excellence, leadership and a commitment to the field of nursing. In addition, applicants must express a desire to work in the state of Florida. Since 2006, five students have been awarded the scholarship.
The scholarship program is made possible by a $250,000 endowment from BCBSF through its Generation RN(sm) initiative, a philanthropic effort focused on developing innovative solutions to prepare, provide and retain a robust and culturally diverse nursing workforce.
“These students represent the future of nursing, and we are delighted to recognize them,” said Catherine Kelly, vice president of public affairs, signature programs at BCBSF. “With a sincere commitment to easing the nursing shortage, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida is proud to support this scholarship program that not only strengthens nursing education but also enhances cultural diversity in the nursing ranks.”
Generation RN relies on the dedication of students like Martin and Montesdeoca to help ease the state’s critical nursing shortage. As Florida’s population increases and the number of elderly continue to rise, the shortage compromises the safety, quality and availability of health care for all Floridians.
Martin graduated in May 2007 with a 4.0 grade average. She plans to pursue a nursing career in Ormond Beach. Montesdeoca, Daytona Beach, Fla., will graduate in May 2009. She hopes to earn a master’s degree in nursing and open her own nurse-based clinic for low-income children and families.
By: Ashley Aubuchon
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida

Office of Public Relations

Shirley Range
PH: 386-481-2950

About Bethune Cookman University:

Founded in 1904 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) today sustains her legacy of faith, scholarship and service through its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement.  B-CU offers 38 degrees on its main campus and online college. Located in Daytona Beach, B-CU is one of three private, historically black colleges in the state of Florida. The institution boasts a diverse and international faculty and student body of nearly 4,000.  For more information, visit

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