Kiesha Davis and Nya Martin

Kiesha Davis, director of Partnership and Capacity Building at the Deaconess Foundation, presents nursing student Nya Martin with a Deaconess nursing scholarship at The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis awards luncheon on Thursday, August 1.

New and returning students received scholarships and loans from The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis during a series of presentations held recently.

On Thursday, August 1, nursing student Nya Martin received a Deaconess Nursing Scholarship to use toward her bachelor of science in nursing degree at the BJC Goldfarb School of Nursing in St. Louis.

The Deaconess Nursing Scholarship Program honors the nursing heritage of the Deaconess mission through its support of local students with demonstrated financial need. These grants are administered through a partnership with the Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis and the St. Louis American Foundation.

She also was one of the first recipients of the newly established BJC Bright Futures Scholarship at Goldfarb, which offers up to $20,000, to be applied to the awardee’s tuition and academic fees, to current undergraduate students admitted to Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College who commit to employment at Barnes Jewish Hospital.

Martin, who is in her second term out of five at the school, will serve this fall as the first African-American president of the student nurse association at Goldfarb.

“I am interested in nurse midwifery and labor and delivery,” Martin said. “Nursing school is hard, but I love it because it’s my passion.”

This year, Deaconess Nursing Scholarships totaled $125,000 for new and returning 13 students. Faith Sandler, executive director at The Scholarship Foundation, said it will award $5.4 million this year to students in various educational endeavors.

“Our hope is that you are going to get more from us than just a check,” Sandler said. “We are going to do everything we can to make sure your dreams are going to come true, so these loans and grants come with the opportunity for advice and counsel; they come with a phone number you can text in the middle of the night; they come with somebody that may or may not visit you on your campus ... they come with the opportunity to engage, to lead and to be educated.”

The foundation is coming up on its 100-year anniversary in 2020. In that century, thousands of students have fulfilled educational needs with support from advocates provided by the foundation. The foundation’s core service area is comprised of counties on both sides of the river in the greater metropolitan St. Louis area, but it’s now also reaching students in more rural parts of the state.

“In 2020, we expect to award interest-free, fee-free loans and grants to 600 hundred students,” said Buff Buffkin, board president of The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis.

“Our small but mighty advising staff will work with almost 7,000 community members in workshops, in schools, fairs and one-on-one work sessions. Our advocacy efforts will continue working with and for students and colleges, as well as at state and fellow governments.”

For more information, visit, call the Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis at 314-725-7990 or email

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