AACN’s Foundation for Academic Nursing Announces 2023 Future Nurse Leader Scholarship Award Recipients

WASHINGTON, DC, February 23, 2023 – The Foundation for Academic Nursing, the philanthropic arm of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), is pleased to announce the 2023 recipients of the Deborah E. Trautman Future Nurse Leader Scholarship. With funding provided by Liaison International, AACN’s partner in NursingCAS, this year's award winners are Nkemdilim "Kelly" Diaz, a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) student at Winona State University, and Rika Win Kemp, a DNP student at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Liaison International initiated this program in honor of Dr. Trautman, AACN's President and Chief Executive Officer, to provide financial support and mentorship to outstanding graduate nursing students who aspire to leadership roles. Funded students will attend the upcoming Graduate Nursing Student Academy (GNSA) Conference in Washington, DC, on August 17-18, 2023 and have an opportunity to meet nursing leaders, including Dr. Trautman. 

Nkemdilim "Kelly" Diaz Nkemdilim "Kelly" Diaz
DNP Student
Winona State University

Nkemdilim “Kelly” Diaz is a DNP student at Winona State University with a focus in Family Practice. After graduating with honors from her baccalaureate program Kelly began serving as an instructor and preceptor for new graduates and student nurses. Her work focused on helping refugee and immigrant community members access affordable training toward certified nursing assistant licensure. In 2019, she served on an interdisciplinary medical mission team in Central America. Kelly is a member of AACN's Graduate Nursing Student Academy (GNSA), which has sparked her interest in healthcare policy, advocacy, and professional development. As the recipient of the AACN’s Deborah E. Trautman Future Nurse Leader scholarship, Kelly is thrilled for the opportunity to further develop her leadership skills and continue to champion the nursing profession while inspiring others to do the same. 

Rita Win KempRika Win Kemp
DNP Student
Medical University of South Carolina

Rika Win Kemp is in the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Doctor of Nursing Practice Program at the Medical University of South Carolina. Rika's background is in labor and delivery, postpartum, and women's surgical nursing, and she is committed to providing holistic and integrative psychiatric care. Prior to attending nursing school at Emory University, she studied international health and Spanish at Clemson University and continues to immerse herself in community health settings. As a refugee herself, she found her skill in caring and advocating for underserved and underrepresented populations. While at Emory University, Rika was awarded the prestigious Excellence in Leadership Award and strives to create meaningful change that supports her nursing colleagues. Her journey to her DNP sprung from her love of educating patients and serving as a mentor for nursing students. Rika believes that shared knowledge is power and is honored to be learning from Dr. Trautman this summer.

Applying for a Scholarship

Administered by the Foundation for Academic Nursing, this scholarship provides $3,500 in support to students in master’s or doctoral nursing programs offered at AACN member schools affiliated with NursingCAS, the nation’s only centralized application service for nursing programs. Students must show high academic achievement and list past experiences that illustrate a commitment to academic nursing. Applicants must be currently enrolled and in good standing at their school of nursing and also be members of AACN’s Graduate Nursing Student Academy (GNSA) (membership is free). A complete list of eligibility requirements and expectations is posted on the AACN website.

Applications for the 2024 scholarship program will open on August 30, 2023. Those selected for funding will make individual arrangements to complete the leadership development experience during the summer of 2024.

For more information on this program and others available through the Foundation for Academic Nursing, please visit the web or contact Dr. Katie Fioravanti, Foundation Director at kfioravanti@aacnnursing.org. To make a donation to the Foundation, click here.