Mallory Gritton is the first to say she wouldn’t be where she is today – pursuing a nursing career – if it weren’t for Kirkwood and its support system of scholarships.
Today, the 21-year old can’t wait to complete Kirkwood’s Associate Degree Nursing program so she can join the workforce and test her skills. And thanks to Kirkwood’s excellent curriculum requirements and attentive teachers, she will be ready.
Growing up in Clarence, Mallory initially thought she’d like to become an occupational therapy (OT) assistant. She had seen firsthand how much OT helped both her parents recover from injuries (her mom hurt her elbow; her dad severed tendons in his right hand).
When Mallory finished high school in 2006, her mom suggested she go to Kirkwood; it was affordable and a good place to start. By then, she knew she wanted to study nursing. So, Mallory got on the waiting list for Kirkwood’s nursing program and started taking prerequisite classes. She’d already found out that any of the classes she took at Kirkwood would transfer elsewhere toward a Bachelor of Science-Nursing degree.
“I took a lot of them, even before I got accepted into the program, so that helped a lot,” Mallory notes. “I’ll graduate next summer and once I pass my boards, I’ll be an RN.”
The path hasn’t always been smooth for Mallory. Her parents’ divorce affected what financial help they could provide. And, once she started classes, Mallory discovered “those hidden costs you don’t know about until you get into school – like gas and housing.”
That’s why the scholarships she received through the Kirkwood Foundation made a huge difference, Mallory says. Among those she has received: the U.S. Bank scholarship, the Rohde Family Nursing scholarship, the Henry and Sara Katz Endowed Nursing scholarship, the Carl and Doris McClain Family Endowed scholarship, and the Betty Winokur scholarship.
“It’s helped out a lot,” Mallory says, when she was living on campus, commuting from Clarence and now, sharing a house with roommates. She also works part-time at St. Luke’s Hospital, where she helps tend both regular and Hospice patients.
Kirkwood’s numerous assets have given Mallory the means for attaining her goal of becoming an RN. In fact, Kirkwood students pursuing healthcare careers now have an additional, remarkable learning tool: the new Healthcare Simulation Center that opened in August. It features 10,000 square feet of training space set up as very real hospital rooms, a trauma center and even spaces designed to resemble typical homes. Here, a wide variety of medical situations can be presented, with high-tech simulated humans exhibiting realistic symptoms. Students experience firsthand how to deal with critical situations as healthcare professionals.
For Mallory, Kirkwood has made a great, relevant education attainable.
“It’s inexpensive, and I won’t have the debt of a four-year college,” she points out. “The class size is good. The teachers are really helpful. And the facilities are great, like the library and the recreation center. I really like it. I’m very happy to be at Kirkwood.”