Lea Lines is entering her final semester at Mason’s College of Health and Human Services. She is the recipient of several Mason scholarship awards and exemplifies the diverse nature of Mason scholars. As a non-traditional student, she has had a unique educational experience compared to the majority of Mason students. She received her Associate degree in accounting from Chandler-Gilbert Community College in Chandler, Arizona in 2001. She then went on to attend the University of Arizona until the birth of her first son. She devoted the following decade to her family as a stay-at-home mom. After her youngest entered elementary school, Lea decided that it was time to return to school and pursue her dreams of becoming a nurse.
Lea attributes her decision to apply to Mason’s nursing program to her time as a stay-at-home mom. Though she had always found great pleasure in helping others, she says that her parenting experiences really influenced her decision to pursue nursing. She chose Mason specifically for its reputable programs—and has flourished since her acceptance. As if the stars had aligned, she quickly completed her nursing prerequisites, then volunteered numerous hours at the Mason and Partners (MAP) clinics before admission. She says that “all of these milestones have confirmed for [her] that this is the path [she] is supposed to pursue.” Just 12 days before her first day of classes, her youngest son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes; this further convinced her that nursing was the right path for her to take.
The scholarships that Lea has been awarded have been a tremendous help to her and her family. As a result of the aid she’s been given, she has not had to take out additional loans and her family has been able to focus on her son’s health. Though her educational experience is coupled with the responsibilities of motherhood, she has maintained Dean’s List status every semester and has been inducted into the Golden Key International Honor Society and the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. In May 2016 she also began working at Virginia Hospital Center in the Medical Oncology unit.
Lea exemplifies what the Mason student and soon to be graduate should be. She reflects fondly on her time at Mason: “my favorite Mason experience isn’t necessarily defined by any one moment, but is defined by a collection of moments.” Each and all of her experiences across all facets of her time at Mason have prepared her for her future being a healthcare professional able to make a difference in the Northern Virginia community. She plans to sit for the NCLEX exam after she graduates, which upon passing, will certify her as a licensed nurse and allow her to pursue employment in her dream career.
Lea’s success at Mason was made easier by her receipt of the Great Falls Friends and Neighbors Scholarship, the Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation Scholarship, and the Osher Re-Entry Scholarship.
The Great Falls Friends and Neighbors Scholarship was established in 2016 to benefit student residents of Northern Virginia cities. The scholarship gives preference to female students age 25 and older, though it is not limited to said group. The Lettie Pate Whitehead Scholarship is a need and merit based award. The foundation was founded in 1946 by Conkey Pate Whitehead in honor of his late mother to provide educational assistance to deserving female students. The Osher Re-Entry Scholarship is dedicated to helping non-traditional and returning students pay for their education.
January 9, 2017 / CM