Nursing Students Receive Scholarships from National Kidney Foundation

statue of jesse mercer sitting on a bench

ATLANTA – Two students in the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing of Mercer University both proved to be so outstanding that they recently received scholarships from the National Kidney Foundation of Georgia, despite the fact that the inaugural award was designed for only one student annually. Sophomore Olivia Kemp of Fairburn, Ga., and Junior Stephanie Hodgson of Duluth, Ga., received the Judy Wilson Memorial Scholarship, an award designed to assist a student pursuing a nursing degree.

            “This is the first time ever we’ve given this scholarship,” said Tracy Jenny, director of patient services for the National Kidney Foundation of Georgia. “Both students were so exceptional, we made a decision to extend the scholarship to both of them.”

            To receive the scholarship, both Kemp and Hodgson had to be enrolled in a nursing degree program and participate as a volunteer in Camp Independence, a week-long summer camp experience for children and adolescents with kidney disease or kidney, heart, liver and lung transplants.

            Hodgson, who is seeking a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing, has worked at the camp the past two summers.

            “Although I have a passion for geriatric nursing, I never realized that working with sick children was an option until I began volunteering at Camp Independence,” she said. “The scholarship has made an amazing difference to me in terms of buying textbooks and my student loan.”

            Kemp, an R.N. to B.S.N. student, agreed that the scholarship is making a difference to her education. She said she became particularly interested in the work of the National Kidney Foundation of Georgia after her brother was diagnosed with kidney disease.

            “I first started volunteering with Camp Independence in high school when my brother had to have a kidney transplant,” she recalled. “Working with the Camp made me want to go into nursing. I am thankful for this scholarship – every bit helps when you’re in nursing school.”

            In a joint effort, Judy Wilson’s family, friends and American Regent, Inc. (her former employer), established this scholarship in recognition of her long time commitment to the field of nursing. The National Kidney Foundation of Georgia is dedicated to preventing kidney and urinary tract diseases, improving the health and wellbeing of individuals and family members affected by these diseases, and increasing the availability of all organs for transplantation.  

About Mercer University and Georgia Baptist College of Nursing:

The founding of Georgia Baptist College of Nursing of Mercer University in 1902 was born out of a vision to establish a Baptist institution for the training of “Christian nurses” to “heal the needy sick.” More than 100 years later, some 6,000 men and women have graduated from the College of Nursing, now part of one of the largest Baptist universities in the world since its 2001 merger with Mercer. The College requires students to undergo a unique three-year clinical sequence and offers clinical experiences in more than 40 of the Atlanta area’s most recognized healthcare agencies.

Founded in 1833, Mercer University has campuses in Macon and Atlanta as well as three regional academic centers. With 10 schools and colleges, the University offers programs in liberal arts, business, engineering, education, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, law and theology. For 15 consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has named Mercer University as one of the leading universities in the South.