Released on June 27, 2023

Meet the new cohort of career changers and future Knight nurses who received the Helene Fuld Health Trust Scholarship. 

Group of UCF College of Nursing accelerated BSN students and scholarship recipients.
Top row (L to R): Gloyana Harjani ’20, Mark Bouillon, Gabriela N. Rivera-Neris ’22. Back row (L to R): Sierra Pickett ’19, Rebecca Wenner ’22, Baylee Ali

Their previous career paths range from data analytics to psychology. Some always had a passion for healthcare, while others were called to the profession though life experiences. But these six accelerated Second Degree nursing students all share a common goal to become a Knight nurse — and now have a title in common: national scholar. 

Thanks to the generosity of the Helene Fuld Health Trust, these scholars are able to pursue their educational dreams of becoming a nurse and answer the call at a time when they’re needed the most. The Helene Fuld Health Trust scholarship is an exclusive opportunity for accelerated Second Degree BSN students who are making a career change and returning to school for a nursing degree, and who may not otherwise qualify for financial aid.

The scholarship is just one example of how the Helene Fuld Health Trust is supporting future Knight nurses. Last month the Helene Fuld Health Trust donated $5.5 million to create a simulation center at the new state-of-the-art UCF College of Nursing building at Lake Nona, which will help address the nation’s nursing shortage with expanded space to increase student enrollment to meet demand.

Meet the 2023-2024 Scholars

Baylee Ali, UCF Accelerated Second Degree BSN student, Helene Fuld Health Trust Scholarship recipient

Baylee Ali

As an undergraduate student in Illinois, majoring in interdisciplinary health, Ali originally planned to be a pediatric urologist — working in a hospital setting and helping increase the number of female providers in the field. To gain more clinical experience, she became a certified nursing assistant after graduating with her bachelor’s degree. There, Ali learned her passion was more than treating medical conditions and diseases, but rather providing care to those in need. “My professional goals have always remained constant; to provide medical care to children (and) make them feel comfortable and safe,” she says. Upon graduation with her BSN from UCF, Ali plans to work in a neonatal or pediatric intensive care unit and eventually continue her education to earn a DNP with a goal to become a pediatric nurse practitioner.

Mark Bouillon, UCF Accelerated Second Degree BSN student, Helene Fuld Health Trust Scholarship recipient

Mark Bouillon 

After earning a bachelor’s in business administration and an MBA, Bouillon pursued an initial career as a data analyst, but he quickly realized he wanted more fulfillment in his work. He joined the U.S. Air Force as a medic, volunteering in five countries, and developed a love for culture and helping others. These experiences, which include working as a medic during the pandemic and volunteering as an LPN (licensed practical nurse) abroad, also solidified his passion and commitment to healthcare and inspired a career in nursing. “I found nursing checks all the boxes in my ideal lifestyle,” he says. His goals after graduation are to pursue a career either as a nurse practitioner or in management for humanitarian healthcare. “The idea is to gain a skillset that allows me to make the biggest humanitarian impact possible.” 

Gloyana Harjani, UCF Accelerated Second Degree BSN student, Helene Fuld Health Trust Scholarship recipient

Gloyana Harjani ’20

Walking into a psychiatric facility for the very first time with wide eyes and sweaty palms as an undergraduate, Harjani began to wonder if she made the right choice to pursue a career in counseling. After graduating with her bachelor’s degree in psychology, she began to work as a mental health technician and realized her true calling. “Ultimately, the gratification of immediately meeting a person’s needs and knowing that you were instrumental in their healing journey, it pulled me away from counseling and propelled me into psychiatric nursing instead.” After earning her nursing degree, she plans to gain experience as a psychiatric nurse in an inpatient facility before continuing her education to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner. 

Gabriela N. Rivera-Neris, UCF Accelerated Second Degree BSN student, Helene Fuld Health Trust Scholarship recipient

Gabriela N. Rivera-Neris ’22

As Rivera-Neris left home to attend UCF, she had intentions to become a medical doctor, then a physician’s assistant, and finally she landed on nursing. “The more I imagined how my personal life, work life, and family dynamic would look, the more I envisioned myself becoming a nurse” she says. “The flexibility, the diversity within the field, and the immense number of options for specialties sold me. There is a place for everyone,” she adds. Her dream is to become a nurse practitioner specializing in obstetrics and gynecology, inspired from her current work as a medical assistant in a women’s center. She hopes to open and operate an independent practice to provide equal and affordable healthcare to as many women as she can.

Sierra Pickett, UCF Accelerated Second Degree BSN student, Helene Fuld Health Trust Scholarship recipient

Sierra Pickett ’19

For Pickett, who was exposed to many health sciences during her interdisciplinary studies program at UCF, there are countless why she decided on nursing. But the most influential was her father’s experience with COVID-19. “This news was heart-clenching and worse, there was nothing I could do to help him.” Pickett says. “This made me rethink my plan in life. A month later I began doing research on nursing programs and decided this is it; this is what I need to do in my life.” Pickett explains that this is the first time in a long time she does not think, but she knows she wants to become a nurse. Finding the silver lining is what she does best as she sets out to make a positive impact in the world. She plans to do that initially as a nurse in a hospital setting and eventually, as a nurse practitioner.

Rebecca Wenner, UCF Accelerated Second Degree BSN student, Helene Fuld Health Trust Scholarship recipient

Rebecca Wenner ’22

During her undergraduate studies at UCF, majoring in human communications, Wenner worked as a nursing assistant in a local hospital. There, Wenner found her true calling in nursing after learning how indispensable the patient relationship is with their nurse. “It became apparent that I couldn’t see myself doing anything else,” she says. Her part-time job gave her a newfound purpose to become a part of the healing process in a patient’s life and make valuable contributions in the healthcare industry. After graduating with her BSN, Wenner plans to initially work in oncology before becoming a family nurse practitioner focused on health promotion and holistic health. Her long-term goal is to expand into heath education and inspire future generations of nurses. 

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