AACN’s Foundation for Academic Nursing Announces 2024 Future Nurse Leader Scholarship Award Recipients

WASHINGTON, DC, January 12, 2024 – The Foundation for Academic Nursing, the philanthropic arm of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), is pleased to announce the latest graduate students to receive the Deborah E. Trautman Future Nurse Leader Scholarship. With funding provided by Liaison International, AACN’s partner in NursingCAS, the scholarship recipients include Amit Dhir, a PhD student from Johns Hopkins University, and Karla Kerkove, a PhD student from the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

“Supporting and mentoring the next generation of nurse leaders is critical to shaping the future of nursing, education, and practice,” said Dr. Deborah Trautman, AACN President and Chief Executive Officer. “Congratulations to the 2024 scholarship awardees for their exceptional scholarship and their strong commitment to leading the profession as catalysts for innovation, inclusion, and excellence.”

Liaison International initiated this program in honor of Dr. Trautman to provide financial support and structured mentorship to outstanding graduate nursing students who aspire to leadership roles. Funded students commit to participating in an AACN conference and a professional enrichment experience with Dr. Trautman and other nurse leaders during the summer months.

Meet the 2024 Scholarship Winners

Selected from a competitive pool of scholarship applicants, here are this year’s recipients:

Amit “Mickey” Dhir

Amit “Mickey” Dhir, MBA, MSN, NP-C, AAHIVS, is an infectious disease nurse practitioner and a PhD student at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. His clinical practice specializes in HIV/STI management and prevention, and primary care for LGBTQIA+ populations. As a leader and community advocate, he has partnered with local organizations like Baltimore City Health Department and the U=U (Undetectable equals Untransmissible) Campaign to deliver messages to inform the communities in Maryland about HIV disease management and prevention. In his doctoral studies, Mickey is exploring the Acceptability and Impact of Long-acting (LA) Injectable PrEP among same gender loving men in Baltimore. In addition to his research endeavors, he seeks leadership role with the goal of addressing health disparities and actively involves clinicians in recognizing the significance and implementing evidence-based HIV prevention care models. In addition to his contributions to health, education, and the community, he is a commissioner in the Maryland Governor’s office of LGBTQIA+ affairs, where he is working to address issues of access to HIV medication and prevention services.

arla Kerkove

Karla Kerkove, MSN, CNE, CCRN, is a first-year PhD student at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing. As a nurse educator and clinician, she has served as a change agent, introducing diverse teaching strategies to promote the growth of newly licensed registered nurses and enhance collaboration among expert nurses. Karla has integrated innovative classroom teaching strategies into both in-person and virtual learning experiences. Additionally, she has assisted in helping to advance students through service-learning projects that have shaped a deeper understanding of how the social determinants of health impact health disparities, bias, and health outcomes. Recent leadership experiences have introduced her to the needs and challenges within the profession and have strengthened her ability to advocate for nurses at all levels. This scholarship and leadership experience will support her research on correlating social determinants of health, structural competency, and health equity within nursing curriculum. Additionally, she looks forward to new opportunities to advocate for healthcare and academic policy and foster visionary leadership.

About the Future Nurse Leaders Scholarship

Administered by the Foundation for Academic Nursing, this scholarship is open 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 offered at all levels. 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 (membership is free). A complete list of eligibility requirements and expectations are posted on the AACN web site. AACN will begin accepting applications for the 2025 scholarships in August 2024.

Partnering to Support Nursing Students

AACN actively seeks opportunities to partner with corporate sponsors and other stakeholders to offer scholarship programs for nursing students in baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs. The association currently administers scholarship programs in conjunction with Scrubin Uniforms, NurseThink®, Liaison International, Hurst Review Services, QGenda, and Uniform Advantage. Those interested in establishing a scholarship program and/or partnering with AACN are encouraged to contact Foundation Director, Dr. Katie Fioravanti, at kfioravanti@aacnnursing.org.

For more details on programs available through the Foundation for Academic Nursing, visit the Foundation website


The Foundation for Academic Nursing is the philanthropic arm of AACN that raises funds to support new innovations in nursing education and practice. The Foundation serves as a focal point for AACN’s fundraising efforts while elevating the importance of academic nursing and our member schools in the philanthropic community.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for academic nursing representing more than 865 schools of nursing nationwide. AACN establishes quality standards for nursing education, influences the nursing profession to improve health care, and promotes public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research and practice.