La Salle University sophomore Andy Augustin has received a McLean Scholarship from the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP). Only seven students statewide received the scholarship, which is for those studying in nursing and physician assistant programs.
Each of the 88 colleges within AICUP can nominate only one student for the $3,000 scholarship, which is presented through AICUP and a generous endowment from the McLean Contributionship. Students must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
“When I first heard I received the scholarship, I was speechless, but overwhelmed with joy at the same time,” said Augustin. He plans to be a critical care nurse.
Pamela Ramanathan, Assistant Director of Financial Aid at La Salle, nominated Augustin. “I nominated Andy for a few reasons: He has a 4.0 GPA. He already has a solid path planned for his nursing career, and he actively participates in community service.” She said Augustin also received an excellent recommendation from one of his chemistry teachers.
Augustin, a resident of Northeast Philadelphia, had to submit a 500-word essay with his application, and wrote about why he decided to pursue nursing.
“While attending Central High School, I always had a passion for science, especially anatomy and pharmacology. Living in a poverty afflicted family and my fervor for science made me open to the possibility of working in healthcare,” he wrote. “However, I didn’t’ know if I wanted to be a physician, pharmacist, chemist, nurse or nutritionist. I knew that if I was picking a major it would have to be something I would love doing for the rest of my life. After months of research and shadowing, I wanted to major in nursing, because it was the only one of these jobs that really involves comprehensive, elongated, empathetic care with every patient. I can think of nothing more satisfying and rewarding than helping people recover from illnesses and increasing their quality of life. Providing exceptional care to people of all ages is what I would like to center the rest of my life around. I didn’t exactly choose nursing. Nursing chose me.”
Augustin has a 4.0 GPA and last year tutored classmates in a chemistry class. He’ll tutor again this year.
“I will help students who have difficulties learning chemistry enjoy the learning process and do well on exams,” Augustin wrote. “This will be exciting for me because I love to tutor, and help my peers understand hard concepts.”
In his recommendation letter for Augustin, Stephen Paul, Ph.D., who teaches in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at La Salle, wrote, “Once in a great while you are fortunate to get a student like Mr. Augustin. He is the rare gift that blossoms into an academically talented student that gives an educator a tremendous feeling of personal fulfillment and accomplishment. Mr. Augustin will not only excel as an academic scholar, he will be a positive role model for other students to follow and benefit from.”
In addition to having a 4.0 GPA, Augustin in his spare time enjoys reading Plato, Mary Daly, Friedrich Nietzsche and Sigmund Freud. He also volunteers with neighborhood trash cleanups, food kitchens, the city of Philadelphia’s Broad Street Run and the March of Dimes. “I particularly like serving in food kitchens because I enjoy interacting with and feeding those less fortunate than me. This helped me overcome prejudices I was taught regarding the less fortunate which will aid me as a future nurse,” he wrote.
Coming from a working-class household made Augustin realize the value of education. “My mother immigrated to the United States from Haiti years ago, and hasn’t received a college education,” he wrote. “As a result, she works long hours and is undercompensated. To prevent this incessant cycle from befalling me and to make a better life for myself and my family, I made the decision to attend La Salle University. I will continue to stay on the right track to fulfill my dreams of becoming an RN so I can make a better life for myself and my mother, who went through so much to put me in college.”
AICUP is the only Pennsylvania statewide organization that serves exclusively the interests of private higher education within the Commonwealth, exists to complement and support the work of campus leaders. The Association provides a variety of services and programs tailored specifically to the needs and situation of independent higher education.
La Salle University was established in 1863 through the legacy of St. John Baptist de La Salle and the Christian Brothers teaching order, which St. La Salle founded in 1680. La Salle is an educational community shaped by traditional Catholic and Lasallian values. The University is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 30 schools in the North Region and among the top 10 Catholic schools in the region.