PhD Candidate Receives $6K NEF ScholarshipKatherine Sylvestre | College of Nursing May 16, 2017
CU College of Nursing PhD candidate Andrea LeClaire, PhD(c), MSHA, BSN, RN, NEA-BC, has been awarded the Eleanor C. Lambertsen Scholarship from Nurses Educational Funds, Inc. The competitive Lambertsen Scholarship awards $6,000 to one doctoral student in nursing education or administration annually.
LeClaire, whose doctoral focus is Health Care Systems Research, says she will use these funds for tuition and to offset costs associated with her dissertation project, such as transcription of interviews, the interviewing process with participants, and programs for statistical analysis. “I am very grateful to have received this award and appreciative of the support of those who wrote letters of recommendation from CU College of Nursing and the Eating Recovery Center,” she says.
Her dissertation will focus on parental impact in securing mental health care treatment for children. “If [parents] can more effectively serve as their child’s advocate in maneuvering the treacherous roads of identifying and treating mental illness, it could change their future. If we can better understand how parents perceive mental illness and seek treatment, we can improve mental health care and make a difference,” LeClaire says. “The focus of my dissertation is to examine parents’ beliefs and attitudes about seeking mental health care. Research focused specifically on this topic is unique and defines the foundation for continued research and improved mental health screening in pediatric populations.”
With graduation plans for summer or fall 2018, LeClaire says this dissertation project aligns with her future career aspirations: “My long-term goals and passion are to make meaningful contributions to quality patient care, education and research. I will do this through teaching nurses and nursing students, conducting mental health research, and writing articles about mental health prevention in children and adolescents. I feel very strongly that education and research are pivotal for excellent nursing care. To be able to help provide educational opportunities to students and nurses ensures that individuals receive quality health care and mental health care. I also want to continue serving others to enable their lives to become better, whether it be through their physical health or their mental health.”
Upon her upcoming graduation, LeClaire will be a three-time alumna of the University of Colorado. She began her academic career with a bachelor of science degree in psychology from Colorado State University before shifting her path as a CU undergraduate nursing student at the then-School of Nursing. She earned her master’s degree in health administration at CU Denver and returned to the College of Nursing for doctoral studies.
“I have had exceptional learning experiences in my programs at the University of Colorado, and I never thought about applying anywhere else. I am on my way to achieve a lifelong dream and hopefully continue to make a difference in the lives of others,” she says. “Being a doctoral student has been mind-stretching, interesting, and I have learned more than I imagined. It is not easy, and I have done it with the support of my family: my husband and kids. This online course with intermittent intensives has been a really nice fit for my professional and personal life. The College of Nursing’s education is top-of-the-line, and the faculty are very respected scholars in the field.”
LeClaire acknowledges the faculty support she has received during her time as a doctoral student. “Dr. Michael Rice has been my advisor for the last four years and he is integral to my success in completing the program as well as my dissertation. He is a strong support, coach and mentor, and helps guide me through the trials and tribulations of my dissertation” she says. “My chair, Dr. Linda Flynn, and other committee member, Dr. Jacqueline Jones, are instrumental in helping me through this process.”
She offers advice to other graduate students seeking financial support from scholarships: “Be persistent, you do not always get a grant or scholarship on the first try. Just keep trying and working hard on it, and eventually something will work out.”