September 12, 2013 - 3:15am

As a second year student in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at Vancouver Island University, Qualicum Beach resident Stephanie Gray will be busy with classes in Nanaimo, her daily commute, and making time for volunteer activities in her community.

The 23-year-old VIU student is the first recipient of a $5,000 Scholarship of Excellence from the Pieter de Reuver Foundation. She has excelled in her education at VIU after a move home from Victoria a year ago after science degree studies at UVic. Along with an impressive GPA in her first year of Nursing, Gray outlined a variety of volunteer and community-based experiences in a letter accompanying her application.

She has volunteered at the Qualicum Beach Seniors Activity Centre, preparing and serving lunch to the members, socializing with the seniors, performing cashier duties, and taking on various computer-related and cleaning tasks.

“The seniors there were all very supportive when they heard I was in Nursing. Most everyone has a connection to a nurse,” she says. “You learn now to interact with that population specifically, because they’re the ones we’re going to be dealing with mostly as nurses – with the baby boomers it’s going to be huge.”

Gray is also a member of the Oceanside Volunteer Association, and looks forward to getting more involved in that organization. “With this lifelong membership I can learn of new and existing volunteer opportunities in this community that are best suited to me as a future health care professional.”

Gray, who grew up in Qualicum Beach, hasn’t yet decided amongst many options available to her once she has finished her BSc in Nursing degree. I’m leaning towards maternity or pediatrics, but I’ve also been looking into nurse practitioner, as I’m passionate about the medicine side of things.”

In celebration of the university’s 75th anniversary in 2010, Pieter de Reuver established 75 $1,000 scholarships available to students from a wide range of faculties. Wanting to ensure he was still supporting the Oceanside community, he aimed the scholarships and awards at Oceanside area students. If there weren’t any who fit those criteria then they would be open to all VIU students. He established the $5,000 scholarship in the spring of 2013, and was able to present the award to Gray in person in the summer while meeting with past scholarship and bursary recipients.

“It’s very exciting,” says Gray. “It’s going to pay for my whole year’s tuition. I didn’t have enough from student loans and I was stressed out about it, so this was a wonderful surprise.”


Shari Bishop Bowes, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University
P:250.740.6443 E: sharibishop.bowes@viu.ca T: @viunews

Tags: In the Community

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