An Edinboro University nursing student aims to make a positive impact on her community, thanks to financial support from the Addison Gibson Foundation Educational Grant.
Marissa Wanker, a junior from Spartansburg, Pa., who is also a competitive powerlifter, was awarded the grant for the 2021-2022 academic year. With her undergraduate degree in nursing, Wanker hopes to continue with the master’s degree program and eventually become a nurse practitioner.
“From books to transportation costs – to basics like food and clothing – college students have enough to worry about without even considering the strain of tuition,” said Wanker, who is in her third year of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at Edinboro. “I am thankful for this grant because it eases this burden and allows me to focus on what is most important – preparing myself for a successful career caring for those in my community and providing optimal care to the patient's I interact with now as a nurse aide.”
Since she was younger, Wanker said she always wanted to pursue a career in the healthcare field. Thanks to conversations with Edinboro nursing professor Andrea Chelton and Wanker’s parents – David (’91) and Marlene (’92) – she was inspired to explore nursing.
“This profession is one with a rich and important history and is incredibly important now in the midst of this pandemic,” Wanker said. “I am so excited to join the ranks of healthcare heroes when I graduate.”
In addition to being a full-time student, Wanker works two jobs to help fund her education. She is also an active competitive powerlifting athlete – using the sport as an outlet to combat the stress of school and work.
“The competitions I am involved in are a very team-oriented, which has helped me become a better team member in healthcare situations as well,” said Wanker, who started powerlifting nearly three years ago after graduating from Corry High School in Corry, Pa. “The competition allows me to push myself to my mental and physical limits and has improved my capabilities and confidence tenfold.”
The Addison Gibson Educational Grant was established in memory of the oil baron and Armstrong County, Pa., native who passed away in 1936. Based in Pittsburgh, the foundation distributes annual funding to accredited institutions in Western Pennsylvania for student scholarships.
To qualify for funding, students must be residents of Western Pennsylvania and be enrolled full-time at an eligible educational institution with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
The foundation also provides low-interest education loans to residents of Western Pennsylvania who have successfully completed at least one year of undergraduate or graduate study and continue to be enrolled as full-time students at an accredited college or university.
“While some are comfortable with accruing debt during the school years and paying it back as their career begins, this is not an option for everyone,” Wanker said. “Therefore, these generous financial gifts allow people to pursue their passions and ultimately create better communities and a better world.”
Edinboro University offers a variety of academic, athletic and other internal scholarships. Students can also seek external scholarships from other organizations. For more information or to apply for financial assistance, visit https://www.edinboro.edu/scholarships.