HER Scholars… Once a HER Scholar, Always a HER Scholar!
Lynette Alise, a HER scholar recipient reflects on her lifelong dream of becoming a nurse, roadblocks she encountered along the way, and how it feels to be graduating nursing school and entering the “front lines” in June at the height of a worldwide pandemic.
Lynette was so close to the finish line she could feel it. Since she was a first grader, she dreamed of becoming a nurse, and now, a Junior at MSOE in, she was almost there. Nursing has always been in her blood. She sacrifices her own life for the sake of others. “It is instinct,” she says. It hadn’t been easy. Living in the urban center of Milwaukee and becoming a mother at age 15 during her sophomore year may have derailed some, but Lynette tenaciously pushed herself not to be a statistic and achieve academic excellence. Yet just as she was so close, she found herself having to be a caregiver in a way she had not intended when a family member fell ill. It was devastating and Lynette found herself in a position she never expected-she dropped out of school in 2001 and did what comes naturally… sacrificing for the sake of others.
Her ambition to become a nurse took a backseat and months became years. She enrolled at MATC and got her surgical tech degree in less than two years. “I always had an inner inkling it was my path to become a nurse,” Lynette says.
She knew going back to school wouldn’t be easy. She now had two kids at home, had to figure out how to pay tuition, and was working as a surgical tech full time at Froedtert. She was barely sleeping. Her job was demanding and exhausting, yet she was great at it. “I deal with trauma surgeries and those hanging onto life by a thread,” When a trauma comes in, the adrenaline kicks in and I just move without thought and everything falls into place.”
It was this confidence in herself and her skills along with an inner drive and determination that drove her to enroll at Alverno College in 2017. She knew she would not be a traditional student and would encounter roadblocks but “I have to learn how to get around them and still fulfill my personal and career goals,” she says. The HER Scholarship from the Women’s Fund, along with support from Alverno that she received because of her academic achievements at MSOE, helped ease the financial burden tremendously.
While she pursued a degree, her mentor would continually need to reminder her to sleep, and take care of herself. There were times Lynette recalls, where she wouldn’t sleep for days. And yet once again, just as everything seemed to be within reach, with midterms around the corner, Lynette’s brother-in-law passed away unexpectedly at age 33. Lynette’s sister was widowed with four young children. Lynette had been on this journey before. She knew what it felt like to sacrifice for others. Her world stopped. She stopped attending school. She didn’t take her midterms. She didn’t do anything but support her sister. Yet this journey had a different ending…her professors worked with her and she took the time she needed, staying on track and staying in school.
Now, after a lifetime of setbacks, roadblocks, and countless sacrifices, Lynette is on track to graduate in June, just three years after enrolling. She admits to having one fear… passing her boards. “It has been a lifelong journey and I am finally completing this goal of mine,” Lynette says with excitement exuding in her voice.
Her advice to others… “It is never too late. Things may seem devastating but if you maintain your inner determination and do not put a time frame on when goals have to be accomplished you can do it.”
She encourages people to continue supporting the HER Scholarship program saying, “it promotes women and women’s independence.” She says, as women we bring something different to the table. We bring a knowledge, and emotional intelligence, and we come with a whole well-rounded and different perspective. She calls it “an investment in the future.” She reflects on where the economy is today and feels we need strong minded and ambition-driven people to help rebuild our country so the economy can continue to thrive for the younger generation. Lynette says, “this scholarship program funds older women pursuing education so we can set the stage and pave the way for younger women.” The world of nursing has changed dramatically in the last month and health care workers are now referred to as “being on the front line.” Lynette reflects on this by saying she is not afraid even though it is scary.
“This has been my calling for my entire life. I have sacrificed so much to get here. It is not a second thought. I am willing to go and be a part of being on the front line because it is for the greater good,” she says. She adds, “you cannot deter a determined mind. Determination will lead to your success.”