Nurses Educational Funds, Inc.
Gala Reception
Madeline A. Naegle, PhD, RN,
The Foundation of the National Student Nurses’ Association
on their 50th Anniversary, and the 2019 NEF Scholars

The 2019 NEF Gala Fundraising event was an enormous success! Held on Wednesday, November 13 at the Griffis Faculty Club in New York City, more than 100 guests gathered to celebrate Nurses Educational Funds, Inc., its honorees and scholarship recipients. Our thanks are again extended to Rosanne Raso and her wonderful Executive Assistant, Uvanda Reynolds, who facilitated all of the arrangements at the Griffis Faculty Club. Our appreciation also goes to Judith Ochola and Suzette Joseph, registered nurse and undergraduate student at Hunter Bellevue School of Nursing, who for the third year assisted NEF in welcoming guests at the registration desk.

The evening began at 6 pm with attendees enjoying the opportunity to mingle with friends and colleagues.while refreshments were served and lovely harp music was played in the background by Sarah Loveland Gill. The formal program began with Board President, Joan Marren welcoming guests and thanking sponsors for their support of NEF’s mission. Representatives present from sponsoring organizations were introduced and those who could not attend were acknowledged. In addition, several guests were introduced who made substantial contributions to the Madeline Naegle scholarship fund. Joan Marren introduced and acknowledged Miriam and Lee Powell. Miriam established the NEF Miriam Powell Scholarship several years ago. Finally, Maureen Shawn Kennedy, Editor in Chief of the American Journal of Nursing, sponsor of the NEF Thelma Schorr Scholarship, was introduced.

In her remarks, Joan Marren emphasized that for many scholarship recipients, the NEF award makes it possible for graduate nurses to continue and complete their studies. She reminded the group of the increased importance of organizations like NEF as government support for nurses’ graduate study, once widespread, has dwindled very significantly over the years. She ended by again emphasizing the tremendous gratitude of NEF and its scholarship recipients, for the generosity of all those in attendance.

Cynthia Sculco, Vice President of the NEF Board of Directors introduced the honorees, Madeline Naegle, PhD, RN, CNS-PMH, BC, FAAN who established the first NEF Scholarship for the graduate study of Mental Health Nursing and Diane Mancino, EdD, RN, CAE, FAAN, Executive Director of the National Student Nurses’ Association who spoke on behalf of the Foundation of the National Student Nurses’ Association celebration of its 50 th Anniversary.

Dr. Naegle spoke about the stigma of mental illness. She highlighted the fragmentation and underfunding of health care services for mental illness and emphasized the significance of this first NEF scholarship in support of graduate study in Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing.

Dr. Mancino spoke about the mission and vision of the Foundation of the National Association of Student Nurses and its very significant scholarship support for baccalaureate nursing education.

Joan Arnold, NEF Treasurer, then introduced Nancy Roecklein and Jennifer Withall both NEF Scholars. Nancy, an NEF Scholar for both master’s and doctoral degrees, and the founder of the Circle of Scholars has facilitated the growth of the NEF Circle of Scholars, the formal network of NEF Scholars. Recently appointed by NEF as its first Scholar Liaison member of the Board of Directors, Nancy will participate in the Fall 2019 and the Spring 2020 NEF Board of Directors’ meetings. Jennifer Withall, the NEF Circle of Scholars Ambassador, who will follow Nancy as the second NEF Scholar Liasion, spoke about the importance of strengthening the common bonds between NEF Scholars and encouraged all NEF scholars to reach out to each other via NEF’s website at as well as on Facebook, at Funds-Inc.

Nancy Roecklein introduced the 2019-2020 NEF Scholarship winners in attendance. Eleven of this year’s 29 NEF Scholars and their family members attended the Gala reception. There was great enthusiasm and gratitude among the scholarship recipients and their presence was truly welcomed and celebrated. Nancy shared information about each of the recipients and presented them to the Gala attendees. They included:

  • Francine Bono-Neri, recipient of the Jane Eleanor Knox Scholarship, PhD candidate at Molloy College Barbara H. Hagan School of Nursing and Health Sciences
  • Tommy Flynn, recipient of the Henry B. Spencer Scholarship, PhD candidate at Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing
  • Lauren Ghazal, recipient of the Foundation of the NSNA 50 th Anniversary Scholarship, PhD student at New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing
  • Noelene Jeffers, recipient of the Cynthia D. Sculco Scholarship, PhD candidate at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing
  • Jared Kutzin, recipient of the Judith G. Whitaker Scholarship, PhD student in Nursing Science at Texas Woman’s University
  • Jasmine Nakayama, recipient of the Barbara Jonas Scholarship, PhD candidate at Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing.
  • Kelsey Naruse, recipient of the Columbia University - Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Association Inc./J. Margaret Ada Mutch Scholarship, a DNP student at Columbia University School of Nursing
  • Courtney Omary recipient of the Lucy C. Perry Scholarship, DNP student at Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing
  • Onome Osokpo recipient of the M. Elizabeth Carnegie Scholarship, PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
  • Rebecca Piasecki recipient of the Philip Raso Scholarship, PhD candidate at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing
  • Sunoz Soroosh recipient of the Columbia University - Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Association Inc./J. Margaret Ada Mutch Scholarship, a midwifery master’s of nursing student at Frontier Nursing University

We offer our congratulations and best wishes to these and all the 2019-2020 scholarship winners! The biographies of all the scholarship winners can be found on our web site, . We hope that they will continue to engage with NEF as their education continues and they move into their new or expanded professional roles.

Finally, we again extend our thanks to the generous sponsors of our 2019 Gala fundraising event. This year NEF raised more than $47,000 in sponsorships, benefactors, patrons, donors, and ticket holders - one of our best ever results! We are most grateful to these very generous organizations and individuals. We hope that they will continue to support the mission of NEF in this way. Our sponsors and their level of support are listed in the far right column of this NEF Homepage. Distinguished guests present who made major contributions to the NEF Madeline Naegle

Scholarship include:
Jay and Dena Bock
Ellen Baer
Claire Fagin
Amanda McGowan
Cynthia Sculco
Neville Strumpf

It is so important for all nurses, especially those of us who have been beneficiaries of scholarship assistance, to give back to our profession through support of organizations such as NEF. NEF remains committed to advancing leadership within the nursing profession through fundraising for scholarships to assist nurses pursuing Master’s and Doctoral degrees in nursing. We are proud of what we have been able to accomplish. We welcome your support in any and all ways - service, ideas, and donations. Please consider how you might help. Go to

Joan M Marren, MA, MEd, RN