UMSN Program Recruiting Middle and High School Students to Improve Diversity in Nursing

EnAct is accepting applications for the free, on-campus program designed to educate students about the skills, requirements, and advantages of a nursing career.

“You do not have to come into the program certain that nursing is what you want to do, but Lindsay Reed (right) participating in EnActdefinitely by the end of the program you will know,” says Lindsay Reed, a recent University of Michigan School of Nursing (UMSN) graduate and a former Exploring Nursing as a Career for Tomorrow (EnAct) participant. She is one of more than 100 students who have participated in EnAct. Many of them, like Reed, have gone on to graduate from top-ranked colleges, including the University of Michigan.

EnAct is part of UMSN’s Gaining Excellence in Nursing Education: Strength in the Sciences (GENESIS), funded by a $1.5-million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Nursing Workforce Diversity program.

Twenty students will be invited to spend two weeks this summer learning what it takes to become a nurse; and they will live in a University of Michigan dorm. “Students who come from underrepresented areas often aren’t even aware of what a campus looks like,” says GENESIS Administrative Coordinator Alecia M. McCall, Ph.D. “Sometimes they are expecting a single building. For them to just see U-M and all that it offers can be eye-opening for them.”

McCall believes that exposing the younger students to a university campus can be a strong motivational tool. “They see they have access to a tier-one program and it’s attainable,” McCall says. “But we make it clear that it’s a competitive and rigorous program. They need to be sure they have strong math and science skills before coming here.”

Lindsay Reed ready for graduation“It’s also a lot of fun and you learn a lot,” says Reed. “It is very interactive so there is a lot of hands-on experience.” Reed, a native of Ypsilanti, Michigan, graduated in May 2013 and plans to work in pediatrics in an urban hospital. Her goal is to spend a few years gaining clinical experience, then return to school to earn her master’s degree and become a pediatric nurse practitioner.

GENESIS works to give underrepresented middle and high school students the tools and support they need to get into a college. The more specific goal is motivating students from disadvantaged areas to become nurses and return to underrepresented areas to improve patient care.  GENESIS is led by program director Patricia Coleman-Burns, Ph.D., assistant professor of nursing. The grant is in the third round of funding from HRSA since 2002 and is funded to 2015. 

Students from across the country are encouraged to apply. Requirements:

  • Be a student in grade 8-11 (for the 2013-2014 academic year)
  • Have earned a B or better in math/science courses
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0  or higher
  • Have strong writing skills
  • Have an interest in a nursing career
  • Be considered economically or educationally disadvantaged (including racially or ethnically underrepresented persons)

The deadline to apply is May 24, 2013. Email The GENESIS program with questions.