Nursing Scholarship Winners Pursue Goals

By Becky Fitzgerald on April 15, 2021

The words “grow” and “green” are perfectly suited for Earth Day, which is next Thursday, April 22, so it’s fitting that the 9th annual Grow Green Match Day was purposely planned to coincide with a day designed to increase environmental awareness. On Match Day, “green” donations made through the Greater Manhattan Community Foundation to participating non-profit agencies will “grow” with a 50 percent match.  

As announced last week, Meadowlark Foundation is participating in this annual day of giving; donations are supporting Meadowlark’s nursing scholarship program. Prior to 2020, Grow Green donations went into funds managed by GMCF, and the matching money was made available for immediate needs. This year, the reverse is true. Meadowlark Foundation and 69 other local organizations will receive 100% of the day’s donations, with the matching funds supplementing our long-term savings.  

Meadowlark’s scholarship program is an obvious “win” for recipients, but it’s a plus, too, for the organization when talented, energetic, and motivated employees become nurses and continue caring for Meadowlark residents. Kyra Dettmer and Kashaya Zukowske are two of the program’s success stories.  

Dettmer was a certified medical assistant for 11 years before earning a Meadowlark scholarship to train as a licensed practical nurse. She transferred from assisted living to Bramlage House, working there when school breaks have allowed. Passing board certification as an LPN in early June of last year, she received an additional scholarship to continue her nursing education at Manhattan Area Technical College. Her expected graduation date with an associate’s degree in nursing is May 15.  

“I have enjoyed working in the person-first, teamwork environment Meadowlark has provided,” Dettmer said. “I hope to obtain an RN position at Bramlage upon completion of school. I want to gain experience working with people as they recover from illness and transition through their lives.” 

In the future, she sees herself as a household clinical coordinator, a role in which she can “help other nurses grow in their careers.” 

According to Chris Nelson, Finance Director, Meadowlark awards up to four internal (current employee) scholarships at $8500 each. Interested employees must complete an application, and a committee reviews the applications to determine which employees to interview. Employees who receive a scholarship agree to work at Meadowlark for at least two years following graduation. 

Nelson added that Meadowlark would like to expand the program, offering $3000 scholarships to up to 10 nursing students who do not currently work at Meadowlark. These recipients must agree to work at Meadowlark for at least a year after becoming an LPN or RN.  

A third way Meadowlark’s scholarship program supports nursing education is to supplement a Board of Regents scholarship. Meadowlark nursing students who receive this scholarship -- $2500 for the LPN program or $3500 for the RN program -- receive an additional $1000 award from Meadowlark.  

Zukowske began working at Meadowlark in July of 2016, and she said becoming a nurse had been a longtime goal. About six months after beginning her role as Health Services Assistant, she started her LPN courses. She received a Board of Regents scholarship and the aforementioned supplement from Meadowlark.  

After receiving her LPN license, she became our Health Services Coordinator. In this role, she is Meadowlark’s Infection Control Nurse for our healthcare and assisted living households, and in addition to other duties, she offers clinical support to households when clinical coordinators are on vacation or when there is a transition of leadership.  

In February of 2020, she was awarded a Meadowlark scholarship to train as a registered nurse. After graduation, she’d like to stay in her current role and would like to be certified in wound care, enabling her to treat residents across campus with more complex wounds. 

“I enjoy working at Meadowlark and with my team, and don’t plan on leaving anytime soon,” Zukowske said. “I’m very grateful to Meadowlark. Knowing that they wanted to invest in me makes me feel valued and reinforces me wanting to continue to work here.”  

Here’s how you may help us attract and retain nurses such as Dettmer and Zukowske:

1. Visit to give online with a credit card from 12 a.m. through 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, April 22. 

2. Or, write a check to GMCF (Greater Manhattan Community Foundation). If Meadowlark is the only beneficiary of your gift, please write Meadowlark-Grow Green on the memo line. 

  • Check writers, complete the giving form included with last week’s Messenger, indicating the beneficiary/beneficiaries of your gift. (Meadowlark Hills is listed in the Basic Human Needs & Healthcare category.)
  • Even if giving to more than one organization, write only one check for the total amount. The form you submit will indicate to GMCF how you’d like your gift divided.
  • No matter the day a check is written, date if 4/22/2021 and mail it with the donation form on or before 4/22/2021. Checks must be dated 4/22/2021 and postmarked by April 22 to be included in the Match Day total.  

3. Meadowlark residents may submit donations and donation forms to be delivered in a bundle to GMCF. If you have a check and form to submit, please deliver to the Hospitality Desk by noon on Thursday, April 22.  
   If you have questions or would like assistance with this process, please contact Becky Fitzgerald, Development Director, at (785) 323-3843. Thank you for considering this opportunity!