Grants & Scholarships

Changing her life one degree at a time

Christina Lewis is turning scholarships into opportunities

“A student nurse got me interested in nursing. It was the way she treated me and the care she gave me that influenced me,” explains scholarship recipient Christina Lewis. Christina’s educational journey has been long and probably would have been too much for anyone less motivated. Describing herself as “a Navy brat,” she moved to Rhode Island with her parents—both born and raised in the Caribbean—when her father was stationed at the Newport Naval Hospital. She graduated from Middletown High School in 2001 and later was inspired to pursue a career in nursing from the care she received while giving birth to her daughter.

She began her studies at the Community College of Rhode Island, but had to step back from pursuing her education for a period due to time and financial constraints. Christina later returned to complete her associate’s degree in nursing in 2012. From there, she attended the University of Rhode Island, earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing in 2014 and a master’s degree in nursing in 2020.

“I wish I’d known about the Foundation sooner. Had I known, I would have applied sooner,” Christina says. During the 2019-2020 academic year, when she completed her master’s degree, Christina received scholarships from three Foundation-administered funds, the Black Philanthropy Bannister Fund, the Martin Luther King Scholarship Fund, and the Edward J. and Virginia M. Routhier Nursing Scholarship Fund.

Enrolled in URI’s Doctor of Nursing Practice Family Nurse Practitioner Program with just three classes to go, she intends to complete this degree by December 2021.

Christina is currently the 3-11 pm nursing shift supervisor at Heatherwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Newport, while also attending class and working as an on-call supervisor at a local home health agency. A single mother, she shares that she has worked two or three jobs “all my life.”

“There have been many times it’s been overwhelming and I would say, ‘I’m just done.’ There have been a lot of tears shed. As a person of color, I feel that sometimes you have to work a little harder, but I’m going to do it,” she states.

“I appreciate everything the Foundation has done for me. The scholarships helped me financially and also made me feel validated. I’m an advocate for the Foundation and encourage others to apply for scholarships.”

- Christina Lewis