Students receive scholarship for working on frontlines of pandemic


Over 300 webster students attend Webster virtually while also working as nurses. Webster has introduced a scholarship as a way to thank them for the work they do.

Chancellor Elizabeth Stroble sat at her desk last fall and happily signed $100,000 worth of checks. The money was raised for 124 Webster students who work as front-line responders. 

“In a moment when they were feeling a bit forgotten, these funds showed that Webster had not forgotten them,” Stroble said. 

Over the summer of 2020, Stroble realized how health care workers were intensively stressed out from the pandemic. Over 300 nurses were working long shifts while attending virtual classes at Webster. Stroble started to think of ways to help the students feel more appreciated.

Home care nurse Judith Ballew continues working during the pandemic. Ballew is a graduate student at Webster pursuing a master of science in nursing. Photo contributed by Judith Ballew.

Kristen Main is pursuing a masters of science in nursing while working as an operating room nurse. She works long hours in the COVID-19 operating room without breaks. 

“This year has especially stretched us thin emotionally, but I would never think to not show up to work over the stress of the pandemic,” Main said in a Webster University news article

Stroble spoke to Board of Trustee member Laura Herring, who felt strongly about this. She wanted to help thank the nurses for their sacrifices.

Herring and her husband, Mike, started the fund for front-line Webster students, and they kicked it off by donating $5,000.

“They were sacrificing so much to keep all the rest of us safe, and an opportunity came for Webster to give them a little financial boost,” Stroble said. 

Over the summer, Webster sent out a letter to the faculty, informing them about the fund in hopes of receiving donations. 

“I think it’s a wonderful thing. It’s very stressful. A lot of the hospitals are short-staffed, and they’re also dealing with the stressors of having families and sometimes kids at home,” nursing professor Stephanie Dribben said. 

All of Dribben’s students are practicing nurses who work in the hospital. 

 In two months, the fund passed its goal of $100,000 with donors in 18 states. 

“It came from alumni. It came from trustees. It came from faculty and staff and even a student or two,” Stroble said. 

Donations ranged in amounts from $20-$20,000. 

“This helped me so much. I was over the limit for tuition reimbursement and this completely covered what I owed,” Main said in the article.

Ameren donated $5,000 to the fund this week, so Webster can give out 10 more scholarships.

“We knew it wouldn’t be the full answer to everybody’s emergency needs, but we wanted to say thank you in a way that helped those students,” Stroble said. 

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