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Nursing Scholarships Awarded in Honor of Georgia Urban

June 30, 2014

Urban scholarship winners  
Left to right: Becky Sabbert, Rochelle Ameer, Karen Mayes, Georgia Urban, Allied Health Dean Vince Featherson and Milad Ahmandi-Nouran

Three students who decided to pursue nursing careers after life-changing events are recipients of the Dr. Georgia Urban Honorary Scholarship at St. Louis Community College.

Milad Ahmandi-Nouran of Forest Park, Rochelle Ameer of Florissant Valley and Becky Sabbert of Meramec each received $100. Ahmandi-Nouran overcame a debilitating auto-immune disease, Ameer cared for a paralyzed child, and Sabbert switched careers when she saw nurses at work.

Urban, who was on the nursing faculty for 14 years, is retiring this summer. The district faculty, staff and friends sent donations to the STLCC Foundation to develop the scholarship in her honor.

Faculty and staff were asked to describe Urban with one-word descriptors, and those were assembled into a “Celebrate You” collage. These same words were used as identifying characteristics when faculty chose the scholarship recipients:

Awesome, Caring, Committed, Compassionate, Considerate, Dedicated, Delightful, Gentle, Genuine, Highly-educated, Intellectual, Kind, Kindhearted, Nurturing, Passionate, Patient, Professional, Respectful, Student-Focused, Thinker, Thoughtful, Trustworthy, and Wonderful.

“It’s a tremendous honor,” said Karen Mayes, STLCC’s director of nursing education. “The faculty gets a tremendous boost out of students who have the same characteristics, so these students should be proud that the nursing faculty saw these qualities in them.”

Ahmadi-Nouran of St. Louis expects to graduate in May 2015, and plans to go into gastroenterology and urology. He works at Barnes Jewish Hospital in the communications department. He volunteers as a local healthcare facility’s information desk and bakes sweets for a local soup kitchen.
“The dream of becoming a nurse inspires me to make myself better every day,” Ahmadi-Nouran said.

“I decided to be a nurse when I faced my own battle with auto-immune disease, ulcerative colitis, four years ago when I underwent a colectomy procedure, five surgeries, many hospital stays, rehab and home health care. I would not have survived if not for the loving selfless nurses. My nurses gave me hope and help when I was most vulnerable. I had no hope. They brought me back,” he said.

“I will pay it forward by becoming a GI nurse and caregiver to the GI patients like myself, just to be there as motivation if nothing else,” he said.
Ahmadi-Nouran, a naturalized citizen, was born in Iran and came to the U.S. at age 16 to go to school.

“I need to give back. I have been so fortunate,” he said.

Ameer, who resides in St. Louis City, is the mother of nine children. She expects to graduate in May 2015 and plans to go into neonatal intensive care unit nursing. She had a child born paralyzed from the neck down, caused by birth trauma. Her son died at age 7-1/2.

“The nurses were just wonderful. They showed me how to take care of him,” she said.

“The nurses supported me and my son through a really tough time, and I thought if I can help others through a difficult time, I wanted to in a meaningful way,” she said.

“I also hope to be as good at my profession, someday, as the people who voted for me to receive this honor,” she said.

Sabbert, a Fenton resident, expects to graduate in December. She would like to work in pediatric, women’s health or general medicine. She is the Student Nursing Association co-president.

“As I pursue a degree in nursing, I do aspire to have those same characteristics and to show those traits to the patients, families and staff that I will interact with,” Sabbert said.

Sabbert was interning for a different career but switched to nursing when she was inspired by watching the nurses.

“How they were hands-on with patients made a difference,” she said. “How they had the healing touch and wanted to show compassion and love in a helpful way.”

Both Sabbert and Ameer are enrolled in the dual admission program with University of Missouri-St. Louis and STLCC, which gives students a head start earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

As for the STLCC Nursing program, Ahmadi-Nouran said it has been a good experience for him because it’s flexible, affordable and allows him to work and go to school.

Ameer, who works as a clinical health care partner at DePaul Health Center, likes the help students receive from the faculty because of the difficult and challenging curriculum.

“The faculty is wonderful and caring, and I’ve learned so much from them. They are very supportive of the students,” she said.

Sabbert, the mother of four children, said STLCC allows her to be both home and attend school.

“They want us to put our best foot forward, and they train and prepare us well,” she said.