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Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing

College of Health Sciences

First graduates reflect on
the Marcia Dale Aspire Scholars Program

First Aspire Graduate Amber Wright

*photo credit


A little about Aspire...

The Nursing Aspire program's purpose is to develop leaders in nursing to advance the profession. The late Dr. Marcia Dale (former dean of the School of Nursing) loved students, greatly enjoyed mentoring them, and was undoubtedly the epitome of a leader. For these reasons and more, the Aspire program was renamed the "Marcia Dale Aspire Scholars" program in her honor.

Four students are accepted into the program each year following an intense application/interview process. The Inaugural Aspire group of four are now seniors and will be graduating this May 2015. This is the third of four spotlights where each senior reflects on the value of the Marcia Dale Aspire Scholars program.

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A background on Amber Wright...

Amber Wright from Newcastle, Wyoming fell into nursing as she considered her strengths in high school: "Honestly, I was not entirely sure what I wanted to be when I grew up. I had always liked being around people, helping others, and enjoyed science," says Wright. "So health care and nursing really stuck out to me... and the more I thought about becoming a nurse, the more I wanted to be one."

So Wright headed to the University of Wyoming, "an easy decision," says Wright. "Ever since I can remember, I wanted to attend the University of Wyoming."

Having been heavily involved in multiple organizations in high school, Wright sought out similar opportunities in college and jumped at the opportunity to be part of the inaugural Aspire program. She also became involved in Student Nurses Association (SNA). As an affirmation of her bent for nursing leadership, Amber was voted in as president her junior year. Her aspirations not stopping there, Wright applied for and was granted a rare summer internship with the Mayo Clinic for the summer prior to her senior year in the nursing program.

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A review of Aspire...

How has Aspire affected your view of nursing leadership?

Through Aspire, I have been able to meet and learn from many great nurse leaders. I have learned that nurses can be leaders in multiple ways and that it is very important for nurses to step into leadership roles. Nurses can lead at the bedside, in the classroom, and at the local, state, and national levels. Aspire has introduced me to the many ways that nurses can be leaders and has helped me grow as a nurse leader.

Of the events you participated in as an Aspire student, describe which has made the biggest impact on you as a student, as a nurse and as a prospective leader?

I really enjoyed attending the workshop with Deb Center. I think that this event brought the Aspire students and faculty closer together and taught us how to be more effective leaders. I have held on to many of the messages that Deb taught us and have used the information I have learned in my practice. One of the messages that really stuck out to me was that in order to take care of other people, we must first take care of ourselves. Since the workshop with Deb, I have been working on taking better care of myself so that I can provide better care to my patients.

What has been a challenge?

College and nursing school are challenges in themselves, but I believe that being a part of the Aspire program has helped ease these challenges. The program introduced me to other nursing students and nursing faculty who have always been supportive and willing to help out when needed. I am thankful that I am a member of such a supportive program.

Has Aspire affected your view of what nurses do?

Aspire has helped broaden my view of what nurses do. When I joined the Aspire program, I knew the basics of what nurses do, but have learned so much more throughout the years. Aspire has helped teach me how influential nurses can be, how many different nursing roles there are, and how important nursing leaders are to the profession.

How would you describe the Aspire program to prospective students?

Aspire is a program for nurses who want to be actively involved in the college and who want to develop their leadership skills so that they can be future nurse leaders. The Aspire program has multiple opportunities in which members can participate, including giving tours while answering questions about the college, attending workshops and conferences, interacting with faculty and nurses throughout the country, and much, much more. The Aspire program is an amazing program to belong to, and it really helps nursing students become leaders!

What doors of opportunity have opened to you as a result of Aspire?

Aspire has provided me with many opportunities throughout the years. Because of the program, I have been able to get to know the nursing faculty better and participate in many events that would not have been possible if I had not been an Aspire member. The events that I have been able to participate in have helped me grow as a leader and have provided me with many nurse role models. I have been invited to attend events specifically for Aspire students that have broadened my nursing knowledge, developed my leadership skills further, and have helped me grow as a nurse. The opportunities that Aspire offers its members are outstanding!


*photo credit
Amber Wright takes a selfie on the helipad at Mayo Clinic, where she worked in an internship last summer.

posted 5/04/2015


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