Kimberly Coffland has been on a 14-year journey. Since she was 10 years old, the Lansdale resident has been working toward becoming a nurse. She took a detour between 2010 and 2012 because of the need to move frequently as her husband was transferred and deployed.
“I recently returned to the area in July 2012 following my husband’s discharge from the Marine Corps and started attending Montgomery County Community College,” she said. “I chose to attend this school primarily because of its affordability, but I also was excited to hear that the College has a reputable nursing program.”
Along the way, Coffland was selected as one of only 20 students to receive Phi Theta Kappa’s 2014 Frank Lanza Memorial Scholarship, which recognizes the outstanding academic and leadership accomplishments of students enrolled in registered nursing, respiratory care, or emergency medical services associate degree programs. A total of $50,000 was awarded in 2014 to assist students in the attainment of these associate degrees.
“The Frank Lanza scholarship means so much to me,” Coffland said. “Because of this scholarship, I will be able to graduate nursing school without using student loans, and there are no words to describe the joy that that brings to my life!”
The Frank Lanza Memorial Scholarship is named in honor of the founder of L-3 Communications, a defense contractor that comprises more than 73 operating units, including Medical Education Technologies Inc. (METI), now known as CAE Healthcare. Lou Oberndorf, founder and retired chairman of METI, endowed the Frank Lanza Memorial Scholarship, which is also funded by L-3 Communications, CAE Healthcare, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.
In addition to the Frank Lanza scholarship, Coffland received a Pell grant and qualified for the PHEAA state grant. “These grants have been a huge blessing, allowing me to only work part-time during the nursing program.”
Coffland started her nursing coursework in 2009 and married in 2010.
“I transferred from the school where I was taking classes to the local community college in North Carolina where my husband was stationed,” Coffland said. “I took a few classes, then he was deployed, so I moved back near family, and I had to transfer schools again. Online classes were a wonderful blessing during this phase of my life, as I moved several times in a couple years.
Her husband was discharged in 2012, and Coffland transferred to Montgomery County Community College “to settle down, finish my prerequisites, and begin the clinical portion of nursing program.
“Anyone who has transferred schools knows what a pain it is, and with moving, enduring deployments, and the school transfers, I was ready to give up at times. However, with the support of my family and especially my husband, I have been able to reach the point of being close to graduation — so close to becoming an RN!” she said.
Coffland balances her roles of wife, student, and nursing assistant with the support of her husband and her faith.
“It’s been a long road, but I feel so blessed to be able to get a good nursing education at an affordable price here,” she said. “This past summer, many of my classmates and I participated in the PA Hero Walk. This event’s proceeds benefited various Pennsylvania veteran associations. It is definitely one of my fondest memories of my time at the College thus far.”
After graduation, Coffland plans to work as a registered nurse while pursuing her bachelor’s degree online, but she has not decided where yet.
“Also, within a few years of graduating, I plan to go on a medical missions trip to a country where standard medical care is not readily available. This has been a goal of mine since I decided to be a nurse at age 10, and I am so looking forward to finally being able to contribute in such a way,” she said.
~ Nerée Aron-Sando