“As Christians, loving God and therefore loving people means meeting people's needs,” said Sharayah Elkins, a Biola nursing student.

For Elkins, nursing brings her to the heart of the call to love and serve. Knowing nursing would allow her to share God’s love, Elkins used her calling to reach out to hurting people. She put her desire to serve people in practical ways to work through leading student-run clinics for the homeless in Santa Ana and Mexico. Elkins’ dedication to helping others was rewarded with the $2,000 Deloras Jones RN Scholarship from Kaiser Permanente.

With higher education costs rising, Elkins applied for many scholarships to offset the cost of tuition. She was ecstatic when Dr. Susan Elliot, director of the Nursing Department, informed her she had won.

“I honestly did not expect to get this one because it was open to such a large area and had strict criteria,” said Elkins. “I was surprised and excited that I got selected.”

Elliot acknowledged Elkins as a good candidate for the scholarship due to her servants heart.

“Sharayah is an excellent nursing student with a warm heart. I am very proud of [her],” said Elliot. “The Delores Jones Kaiser Scholarship is a well respected and sought after scholarship and Sharayah is very deserving. She is this year's only Biola awardee.”

Elkins joins past Biola nursing students who have won the scholarship and is thankful for the recognition. However, she feels the entire nursing department and students should be acknowledged for their work.

“Everyone in our program works very hard including our faculty as well as other students,” said Elkins. “I’m really thankful for all that’s been invested these past five years.”

Sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, the scholarship was open to students across California with various awards available depending on merit and financial need. The criteria for the scholarship provided tough competition for applicants and only 160 awards were given for the 2009 year.

Elkins met the criteria and demonstrated a passion for a career in nursing through her experience and involvement in special outreach programs.

Elkins accepted the scholarship at the award banquet held at Kaiser Permanente hospital in Pasadena, Calif. in November.

She has also been a recipient of department scholarships for her interest in using nursing in missionary work.

Elkins looks forward to putting her knowledge into practice when she takes care of patients and applies her nursing skills in medical missions.

 “As I grow more confident, I hope to be able to use these [skills] in medical missions and to give care abroad where people have limited access to healthcare,” said Elkins. “I love seeing simple healthcare go such a long way in helping individuals and families.”

Biola University’s nursing program is a rigorous program that prepares graduates for a career in professional nursing. The program is accredited by the California Board of Registered Nursing and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Students have the opportunities to gain nursing experience in hospitals and agencies in Los Angeles and Orange County.

Written by Jennifer Thach, Media Relations Intern. Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator, can be reached at (562) 777-4061 or through email at jenna.l.bartlo@biola.edu