NATCHITOCHES – Alyea Minter Pollard, a graduate student in Northwestern State University’s College of Nursing and Allied Health, received the Joe Ann Clark Graduate Nursing Education Award, presented by the Louisiana State Nurses Association. The award was announced during the 12th annual Nightingale Gala sponsored by the Louisiana Nurses Foundation in Baton Rouge. More than 300 nurses, their families and friends attended. Katheryn Arterberry, assistant professor of nursing at NSU, was mistress of ceremonies.
Pollard is a native of Jackson, Miss. Her nursing concentration is adult nursing education. She earned a bachelor’s degree in health care administration from Jackson State University in 2000 and BSN from Mississippi College in 2003. She plans to further her studies to the doctoral level.
Pollard was the first student selected to receive the Joe Ann Clark Graduate Nursing Education Award. In addition to the $1,000 award for graduate nursing academic expenses, LSNA will provide a one-year complimentary membership in LSNA/American Nurses Association to the recipient. Recipients have demonstrated competence in graduate study as evidenced by successful completion of nine graduate hours of course work and have at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average.
The goal of this award is to provide financial support to an RN pursuing graduate education for preparation as a nurse educator in an academic environment. They must have unconditional admission and be fully matriculated in a Louisiana-based graduate nursing program nationally accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
“The night was simply beautiful as so many deserving nurses in Louisiana were honored,” Pollard said. “As I entered the halls where guests were eating and greeting, Dr. Cynthia Prestholdt, the Joe Ann Clark Scholarship Award chairperson, explained to me, ‘Alyea, tonight you are among the crème de le crème of nurses in Louisiana.’
Pollard said she initially was unaware of the magnitude of the award, but during the ceremony came to understand the contributions Dr. Clark made towards nursing in Louisiana.
“I feel proud to be recognized as the first recipient of the scholarship award named in honor of Dr. Joe Ann Clark,” Pollard said. “Dr. Clark is a phenomenal woman, dedicated to a cause much greater than her. I can stand tall because I stand on the shoulders of Dr. Joe Ann Clark, Dr. Marcia Wells, Dr. Debra Shelton, Dr. Katherine Arterberry and Dr. Joyce Buckner-Brown. I will always remember Dr. Clark signing my certificate with the words ‘My Best. I’m watching!’ then looking at me as she said, ‘I’ll be watching you.’ She made me smile and I reassured her that I would keep her words and the energy of the night in my heart and mind as I make my own footprint on the profession I love so dearly – nursing.”
Pollard said she loves her career because she loves people.
“My school of nursing, Mississippi College, ingrained in me that nursing is about Christian caring,” she said. “It is an avenue to touch lives in a very special way. Lastly and most notably, I am grateful for my loving husband Craig and family who always support me and my Lord and personal Savior Jesus Christ, who has made this and all things possible.”
Last year, Pollard was a National Black Nurses Association/United Health Foundation Scholar and is engaged in volunteer community service in Shreveport. She, along with classmates and nursing faculty, facilitate health education classes at the Shreveport/Bossier Rescue Mission.