Hope College senior Grace Olamijulo of South Ozone Park, N.Y., has received one of only 15 undergraduate scholarships nationwide to participate in the 24th Annual Conference of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) on Wednesday-Saturday, Oct. 13-16, in Louisville, Ky.

The award, through the 2010 APNA Ortho-McNeil Janssen Scientific Affairs, LLC Student Scholarship Program, is open to students enrolled full-time in a state-approved nursing program leading to licensure as a registered nurse, and who are interested in psychiatric mental health nursing.  The scholarship provides registration, travel and lodging expenses, and a stipend for meals and other expenses to attend the conference, as well as a one-year complimentary membership in the APNA.  The recipients will also receive national recognition via the APNA website, in conference program materials and through the "Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association."

Olamijulo is a nursing major who is interested in pursuing a doctorate nursing degree and participating in international nursing.  While she isn't planning on a career in psychiatric nursing specifically, she notes that her learning experiences have shown her the importance of making patients' psychiatric needs a care consideration regardless of specialty.

"My psychiatric nursing clinical taught by Professor Patricia Walter had a profound effect on my outlook as a future nurse," she said.  "It was there that I learned how important it is for every nurse, regardless of specialty area, to consistently try to meet the psychiatric needs of patients. Although I have not decided on a specialty area to pursue I am certain that what I gained from my psychiatric nursing rotation will always impact my work."

Olamijulo is currently participating in a collaborative faculty-student research project in nursing on campus led by Dr. Susan Dunn, associate professor of nursing and chairperson of the department.  The goal of the project is to examine the effect that exercise has on feelings of hopelessness and depression in cardiac rehabilitation patients.

In May she was one of seven students who participated in the department's new May Term course in Queretaro, Mexico, and in March she had participated in the department's new spring-break mission trip to the Yucatan Peninsula.  She credits the international experience with shaping her career goals.

"I really enjoyed participating in the various new international learning opportunities offered by the nursing program," she said.  "I really enjoyed learning Spanish and about the Mexican health care system. Prior to going on the new May Term trip I was certain that I wanted to attend graduate school for nursing. After spending two months in Queretaro, I realized what a joy international nursing really is. I now hope to one day complete a graduate research project on health conditions affecting both the United States and Mexico."

Her other activities at Hope have included serving as a residence life assistant; the Phelps Scholars Program; the Hope circle (chapter) of the Omicron Delta Kappa national leadership honor society; the college's Tau Psi Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority; the Black Student Union; and the student-organized Dance Marathon fund-raiser held on behalf of Helen DeVos Children's Hospital of Grand Rapids.  She is the daughter of Jide and Goldsta Olamijulo of South Ozone Park, N.Y. and a 2007 graduate of Brooklyn Tech High School.