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Georgia Southern undergraduate nursing students awarded Rockin’ Out Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation scholarships

(l-r): Barry Joyner, Ph.D, dean of the Waters College of Health Professions; alumnus Darron Burnette, Rockin’ Out Alzheimer’s disease (ROAD) Foundation Chief Financial Officer; Tommy Lewis, president of Lewis Color; Catherine Gilbert, Ed.D., chair of the School of Nursing; and Melissa Garno, Ed.D., associate chair of the School of Nursing.

Four undergraduate nursing students at Georgia Southern University were each awarded a $2,500 Rockin’ Out Alzheimer’s Disease (ROAD) Foundation scholarship to assist with academic expenses, including tuition, fees and books, among other items. 

“The scholarships provide significant financial support,” said Melissa Garno, Ed.D, associate chair of the School of Nursing. “Nursing programs are inherently expensive with costly books, uniforms, lab and liability fees, and commuting expenses. In addition, the rigor of the nursing program often requires students who have jobs to reduce their work hours to devote to studies and clinicals.”

Amber McGowan, a recipient on the Armstrong Campus, is grateful for the financial aid.

“This scholarship will go a long way toward ensuring my success academically,” said McGowan. “The uncertainties that have come in 2020 so far have driven me to really focus on ensuring my family was prepared for whatever may come. This award will alleviate some of that stress and allow me to refocus on my goal of becoming a nurse and succeeding academically. I appreciate being considered for and awarded the ROAD Scholarship.”

Statesboro Campus student Darien Jordan looks forward to continuing to serve the aging population with the help of the scholarship. 

“As someone whose heart has always been in geriatrics, I am completely humbled to be chosen as one of the ROAD Foundation scholarship recipients,” he said. “Ever since my first clinical working with older people, I knew that I wanted my career to be centered around loving and serving people. Geriatric nursing is one of the most giving career paths, and I am so incredibly thankful for organizations like the ROAD Foundation that have enabled me to be able to give back to the generation who have given so much to us.” 

The $10,000 scholarship pool is annually divided among two students on the Statesboro Campus and two students on the Armstrong Campus who are enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program with the goal of working with geriatric populations once they are licensed as professional nurses. 

In association with the Alzheimer’s Association, the ROAD Foundation is a nonprofit organized by Statesboro-based volunteers. Georgia Southern alumnus Chandler Dennard (‘90), executive director of Willow Pond Senior Care, serves as chief executive officer of the foundation, while alumnus Darron Burnette (‘88), divisional CEO of banking company Synovus, is the organization’s chief financial officer. 

The School of Nursing at Georgia Southern is consistently ranked among the top nursing programs in the nation. Students in the graduate programs boast a passing rate of 99% on certification exams. 

The mission of the Waters College of Health Professions is to prepare future health professionals through academic excellence and interdisciplinary collaboration while advancing knowledge through scholarship and serving culturally diverse communities.

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/R2 institution founded in 1906, offers 141 degree programs serving more than 26,000 students through nine colleges on three campuses in Statesboro, Savannah, Hinesville and online instruction. A leader in higher education in southeast Georgia, the University provides a diverse student population with expert faculty, world-class scholarship and hands-on learning opportunities. Georgia Southern creates lifelong learners who serve as responsible scholars, leaders and stewards in their communities. Visit


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