Janey Brooks had a great respect for health care and idolized nurses, but never had the chance to become one herself. An Army logistics clerk from Baltimore, Maryland, she wanted a better life for her grandchildren and always encouraged them to chase their dreams.
“Many black people, during the time that my grandmother lived, and my father grew up, didn’t really have the same opportunities as others,” says her granddaughter, D’Ana Brooks ’13 (CAHNR), ’18 MS.
“Because of that, she really pushed all of her grandkids to follow their dreams. She told us to never give up, to never feel like you can’t do it because of how you look,” Brooks says.
Buoyed by her grandmother’s support, D’Ana became a nurse herself and has already carved out a remarkable career at Yale New Haven Hospital. She has worked in a wide range of the hospital’s units from pulmonary to oncology, earned her master’s degree, and now is a nursing manager. Driven by boundless energy and intellectual curiosity, she is also working on earning a doctorate at UConn so she can become a nursing professor.
In honor of her grandmother, D’Ana Brooks recently established the Janey Brooks Nursing Scholarship to provide financial aid for students earning their Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP). Brooks is giving $1,000 a year for five years to support other doctoral students with financial need.
Her scholarship is aimed at supporting students like her who are trying to pay tuition while balancing careers and classes.
“I hope this will help DNP students continue on in the program,” D’Ana says. “If they’re in a financial bind and can only take one class at a time, it will help cover at least one class. I think that will help provide some relief and really open the door for all DNP students.”
“It is incredibly inspiring that D’Ana, while still a UConn student herself, has already begun giving back to UConn,” Dean Deborah Chyun says. “This scholarship will make a difference to our graduate-level students, who are juggling their coursework and working on the front lines of the pandemic. It is an amazing gift from a generous alumna and student, and I am grateful D’Ana thought of us when she created this tribute to her grandmother.”
Janey Brooks died in September 2020, but her legacy lives on—and not just in the scholarship. Including D’Ana, four of her grandchildren have carved out careers in public health and health care, finding joy in dedicating their careers to caring for others.