College of Southern Maryland nursing student Aniyah Gabriel, of White Plains, has been awarded an Educational Systems Federal Credit Union (FCU) 2020 Community College Scholarship. Gabriel’s $3,000 scholarship is provided by the Support Education Foundation, which was established in 2017 by Educational Systems FCU to help the credit union fulfill its core purpose of serving the education community.
“For us, it’s an honor to support education by helping students and educators continue to learn and grow,” said Chris Conway, President/CEO of Educational Systems FCU.
Gabriel, 25, called the scholarship “life changing.”
“This award not only allowed me to pay for classes, but I had enough money to purchase the books I needed for the classes,” she said. “I am extremely grateful for this opportunity. Thank you does not amount to the gratitude I have for this.”
This is the second scholarship that Gabriel has earned – having also recently received a 2020 CSM Foundation Help a Hawk Scholarship. The awards, she said, were much needed, and deeply meaningful to her at a very difficult time in her life.
“When my mother passed away unexpectedly on May 26, 2020, it was a complete shock to my family and I,” she shared. “With me being an only child and her not having much family and no life insurance, I was forced to take two months off work for my mental health and to dig very deep into my savings in order to give her the homegoing service she deserved. I had zero idea how I was going to finance school for my last two semesters, but I knew I did not want to give up on my dreams and I knew she wouldn’t want me to, either.”
Gabriel now works full time at the Virginia Hospital Center. She said that becoming a nurse has always been her dream – a passion that developed when her niece was born premature and only given a life expectancy of three weeks to live.
“My niece is now a vibrant and intelligent 12-year-old heading to the sixth grade,” she shared.
Watching her niece’s early medical challenges, coupled with the medical care her mother did not receive, made Gabriel’s commitment to finish her education “more personal and important.”
“I plan to change the narrative about the care patients receive in the emergency setting,” she shared. “Upon graduation, I plan on becoming an emergency room nurse for a few years while obtaining my master’s degree. My ultimate goal is to become a family nurse practitioner. This will also allow me to dip and dabble throughout labor and delivery, the NICU and the emergency room.”
Educational Systems FCU (esfcu.org) has served the education community for more than 60 years. With more than $1 billion in assets and 13 branches, the credit union serves 85,000 members in eight school systems and three community colleges throughout Anne Arundel, Calvert, Caroline, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s, St. Mary’s, and Talbot counties in Maryland.