Daniella Medina

Daniella Medina is one of more than 500 students at the VCU School of Nursing who have benefited from Joanne and William Conway Nursing Scholarships since 2019. Photo: Penelope Carrington, MCV Foundation

Conway Scholarship Puts Nursing Student’s Dream Within Reach

VCU School of Nursing student Daniella Medina discovered her passion in health care while participating in the Women’s Health and Healing exchange program in Guatemala. The program, sponsored by the VCU Institute for Women’s Health, enables participants to explore traditional Mayan medicine and learn about local services, practices and challenges related to maternal and child health.

Medina’s parents immigrated to the U.S. from Guatemala, and she felt a strong connection to the program.

I really like school, and I want to put myself in a position where I can make a difference especially to help address health disparities in the Hispanic community.

Daniella Medina, VCU School of Nursing Conway Scholar

Growing up in a small town, Medina’s mother dropped out of elementary school to help put food on the table for herself and nine siblings. Her father was also unable to finish school. Both eventually moved to the U.S. as adults where they met and married. After Medina and her younger sister were born, her parents’ primary focus was providing for the family in Northern Virginia.

“They didn’t have a chance to focus on their education to begin with,” Medina said. “They remind me not to take education for granted, and I want to make them proud and show them that their efforts weren’t for nothing.”

Medina is one of many deserving students supported through Joanne and William Conway Scholarships at the School of Nursing.

In 2022, the Conways made a $13 million gift to the school through their Bedford Falls Foundation–DAF. It was the largest gift in the school’s history. Collectively, they have committed $18.5 million to support scholarships for nursing students at VCU, which has enabled the school to reduce the cost of nursing education for undergraduate and doctoral students for the next five years.

“The scholarship relieved the financial burden on my family and allows me to focus on my education without worry,” Medina said.

Medina is closer to reaching her nursing dream thanks to the scholarship’s impact on her life. Conway Scholarships offer more than $2.5 million each year to support prelicensure students in the traditional or accelerated B.S. programs, students in the RN to B.S. program and doctoral students.

“I really like school, and I want to put myself in a position where I can make a difference especially to help address health disparities in the Hispanic community,” Medina said.

While she is still exploring options, her goals include becoming a midwife or specializing as a women’s health practitioner.

“There’s always bound to be some obstacles,” Medina said. “But nothing is impossible. It’s a matter of dedication and determination to make things work. Scholarships like this truly give students the support needed to achieve their dream.”

If you would like to support student scholarships at the VCU School of Nursing, please contact Pam Lowe, the school’s senior director of development, at 804-827-0020 or plowe@vcu.edu.