Empower Success

The Nursing Workforce Diversity Grant, through the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, funds the Empowering Nursing Students for Success project. Empower Success targets students from underrepresented groups and from educationally and financially disadvantaged populations, pairing them with faculty mentors and student navigators to help shepherd them through the Bronson School of Nursing program. Read related news article.

About the program


Fall 2018 Empower Success students

Empower Success was designed to recruit, retain and graduate more students from underrepresented groups and educationally and financially disadvantaged populations. This program includes the following components:

  • Scholarships and stipends for students totaling $225,000 per year
  • Academic and peer support provided by BSON faculty and trained student mentors (Navigators)
  • Holistic review for admission to the BSON undergraduate program

Working with partners on the WMU campus as well as in the community helps us achieve our goal of recruiting, retaining and graduating more nurses from underrepresented groups and educationally and financially disadvantaged populations. This program addresses a critical overall nursing shortage, and more specifically addresses the shortage of nurses from underrepresented groups. Producing highly qualified nurses from these groups will improve the quality of healthcare, while improving the overall diversity of the nursing work force.

What is this grant?

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) hosts a Nursing Workforce Diversity program. Dr. Mary Ann Stark wrote a grant that was funded through this program. The Bronson School of Nursing receives almost $2 million over four years to support this program (D19HP30866).

While the federal grant provides most of the funding, it does not cover all costs. We rely on generous donors to support this program and help us build funds to be used when the grant expires. If you would like to join in support of this program, you can donate to the Empower Success fund and any other fund in the Bronson School of Nursing on the WMU Alumni Relations website.


History of Empower Success

Having a diverse nursing workforce is beneficial to the health of our community and society. In 2015, a team of nursing faculty (Dr. Yvonne Ford, Ms. Kimberly Searing, Ms. Mary Stahl, and Ms. Joanne DeWit) along with Andy Brown in the CHHS Office of Student Success was led by Dr. Mary Ann Stark to design a program to encourage the success of students from underrepresented groups.

They wrote and received a program grant from the WMU Office of Faculty Development for $5,000. With that grant, they offered 14 students a small stipend to work with faculty, who helped them identify academic and personal issues that impede success. Older students were hired as Navigators to help the student scholars achieve success. All 14 students in the program were successful and progressed in the nursing program. This program was called the Marie Gates Scholars Program in honor of our previous BSON director who valued and supported diversity in nursing. Based on the tremendous success of this pilot program, we were able to apply for HRSA funding to support Empower Success (HRSA-D19HP30866).