2016 Ambrose R. Nichols Jr. Scholarship Recipient

Shauna Fassino

Shauna Fassino has wanted to be a nurse since she was 12 years old. She was already attending Sonoma State, hoping she would be accepted into the university's prestigious nursing program, when her grandfather had what would be a fatal stroke in February 2015.

He had wanted her to become a nurse as much as she did, and it was difficult to recover from the emotional loss. But the 2016 Ambrose R. Nichols Jr. Scholarship recipient didn't falter. Instead, she pursued her goal even harder to honor her grandfather's wishes.

"Losing my grandfather has been one of the hardest experiences I have ever encountered," she says. "I miss him every day, but it also gave me even more drive to become a nurse and help others." And when she was accepted into the nursing program at the end of the semester, she says she felt her grandfather celebrating with her.

The junior is now president of the Nursing Club, a member of the Student Health Advisory Committee and volunteers with student-run community service organization JUMP (Join Us Making Progress), all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. She plans to graduate in 2017 and pursue a Master's degree in nursing and become a nurse practitioner.

"I want to help families in their most vulnerable state, and ultimately give back to the communities that have given so much to me throughout the years," she says.