From the May 2010 issue of Our Moment, the UConn Foundation's e-newsletter.
For School of Nursing alumna Lindsay Bolt ’04, the decision to give back to UConn was a personal one, based on a long-running friendly relationship with the donor who helped fund her own education. Over the period of several years, in partial donations every month, Bolt managed to repay in full the scholarship support she received at UConn.
The San Francisco Bay-area nurse is now established on her educational and career path in community health and international nursing, with an eye toward public policy and teaching. But in the first few years of out of UConn, things were much tighter.
“I was pretty broke when I moved out here,” she says. “But I had received a couple of great alumni scholarships while I was a student, specifically for the research I was doing on health care and the transgender and gay communities. Honestly, I was worried that if I didn’t give back, that scholarship would disappear for future students.”
Although she had remained in contact with the donor of her own scholarship, Bolt did not tell him that she was working toward repaying the support he had provided through the UConn Foundation.
“I realized that I didn’t have to starve to do it. I just budgeted every month. I knew groceries cost this much. I knew how high rents were in the Bay area, and I just made sure I wrote that check to the Foundation first,” she says. “You know what the biggest help was? Knowing that it wasn’t a bother for them to cash my small checks every month. Once I learned that it wasn’t, I just kind of plugged away at it until I was done.”
Bolt grew up near UConn, and always considered the University a “home away from home.” While in the Honors Program, she decided to conduct an individualized research project and received the first $620 in scholarship support that helped her pay for a computer to do fieldwork. The scholarship Bolt received had been made by the donor as a tribute to his partner, who worked as a medic and nurse and had a family connection to UConn.
Bolt and her donor corresponded while she was at UConn and afterward, exchanging Christmas cards and notes about life, her work and research. After her first undergraduate research project, studying the experience of transgender patients in the health care system, she received the scholarship support for a second year.
She says that she wants her own giving to leave a similar legacy.
“I’d like to look back and see that there are still people getting the scholarship well into the future and that nurses are doing research on those who are under-cared for, who are receiving sub-par care that interacts negatively with their dignity. I want nurses to be trusted by our patients in their most vulnerable moment. That’s the core of nursing.”
For more information about supporting the School of Nursing, please contact the UConn Foundation’s development department.
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