Not long ago Palm Beach Atlantic University student Lauren Smith was on track to become a teacher. But her love for working with children ultimately led her from the classroom to a more clinical setting.
|Lauren Smith, a student in the School of Nursing at Palm Beach Atlantic University, poses in the school's skills lab. Smith hopes to help sick children one day.|
“I want to have real contact with them,” said Smith, a junior in the School of Nursing. “I want to help them when they’re sick.”
Smith, a New York City native who grew up in Boca Raton, is achieving her goal thanks to the George Snow Scholarship Fund. The fund provides four-year educational grants to some of the area’s brightest and most deserving young scholars.
Smith was awarded the scholarship after she graduated from Olympic Heights High School, where she was a student in the early childhood teacher education academy. She received her associate’s degree at Palm Beach State College before transferring to PBA.
She said she was attracted to PBA because of its student-centered environment. “The professors really dedicate themselves to the students and they want to see them succeed,” she said.
“It’s like a whole big family here. Everyone is very supportive.”
Her professors describe Smith as self-motivated. “Lauren is a diligent student, a joy to her classmates and an advocate for her patients,” said Assistant Professor of Nursing Christine Brooks.
Smith is active in the National Student Nurses Association as well as the Nurses Christian Fellowship and the Phi Theta Kappa national honor society. She has volunteered with Boca Helping Hands as well as several Red Cross blood drives. She was a volunteer for and participant in the Race for the Cure, and she has been involved in the committee for St. Baldrick's, an organization that raises money to find a cure for children’s cancer.
She also has volunteered at the Church of All Nations with its pantry, feeding the less fortunate as well as participating in a gift-giving project during the holidays. In addition, she tutors at an academic high school in all subject areas.
After graduation, Smith hopes to work in a hospital specializing in intensive care while advancing her studies to become a pediatric nurse practitioner.
“My dream is to be known as a healthcare transformer, bridging compassion and community to vibrant, patient-centered work,” she said.
“I believe I have the power in this role to lift the mood and energy of a group high enough to see and feel better in health and hope.”