Nursing instructor receives share of prestigious education grant
October 10, 2008
Lander University alumna Theresa Gunter Lawson, an instructor in Lander's William Preston Turner Department of Nursing, is one of nine doctoral candidates selected to share in a $1.5-million fellowship grant from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation to the South Carolina Nurses Foundation.
The fellowships are aimed at helping reduce the nursing shortage by increasing the number of students in nursing schools, adding new faculty and enhancing the delivery of nursing education. The money will provide Lawson and the others financial assistance for tuition, fees and living expenses.
As Blue Cross Blue Shield Nurse Faculty Fellows, they are eligible to receive stipends of up to $40,000 a year for three years. In return, recipients must agree to teach in a South Carolina nursing program for three years or more. Lawson has no difficulty meeting that requirement because she plans to continue her career at Lander where she teaches medical-surgical nursing and nursing research and is an adviser to pre-nursing students. "I am committed to education," she said.
Why did she choose teaching over working full time in a clinical setting? "I love seeing the light bulb go on in students when they understand something for the first time," she said.
As a student herself, Lawson is in the third year of a four-year doctoral program at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. She expects to graduate in 2010 with a Ph.D. in nursing with an emphasis on research among vulnerable populations.
Lawson, a native of Aiken, said her mother and three aunts are nurses but it wasn't until her junior year at Lander that she decided to follow in their footsteps.
She graduated magna cum laude from Lander's nursing program in 2002 and received a master's degree as a family nurse practitioner from Clemson University three years later. In addition to teaching, she works as a nurse practitioner at Living Well Health Solutions and Greenwood Acute Care Physicians and volunteers at Clinica Gratis in Greenwood.
Before joining the Lander faculty in 2005, she was employed as a staff nurse at Self Regional Healthcare and Cannon Memorial Hospital in Pickens and as a clinical instructor at Greenville Technical College.
She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau international honor society of nursing, Phi Kappa Phi academic honor society and the Blue Key National Honor Society.
Her husband, Jeff, is also a 2002 Lander graduate and is employed as an enterprise architect at Fluor in Greenville.