As a family nurse practitioner, doctor of nursing practice (DNP) student Marian Thompson typically spends her days helping others. But when she needed help due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a caring UB donor was there for her.
Thompson was just months away from earning her doctoral degree at UB when the COVID-19 pandemic hit New York State, putting millions of people out of work, and leaving thousands of UB’s most vulnerable students at risk.
Furloughed from her job as a sexual assault nurse examiner and advocate for women’s health at a women’s health clinic in Utica, New York, Thompson didn’t know how long it would take to receive her unemployment check. “I was terrified of not being able to pay my rent for the next month,” she explains.
When a staff member at UB suggested that she could qualify for emergency help, Thompson applied to the School of Nursing Julia Buscaglia Student Support Fund, which was created to help students get through emergencies. “You never think you’re going to need something like this,” says Thompson, who used the money to pay her rent, keep her studies on track, and put her mind at ease.
For years, UB has offered emergency funds for students dealing with a death in the family, an accident or other unexpected circumstances.
Just weeks into the COVID-19 crisis, generous donors gave more than $340,000 to student emergency funds to make an immediate, tangible impact for students, and help the UB community remain strong. As one student noted, “it truly makes a difference knowing that I am not left all alone.”
Thompson agrees. “At UB, they do everything they can to make sure you succeed. It’s been very nice to feel like my education is important, that I’m not just a number who’s paying tuition.”
Of course, Thompson isn’t done making a difference and helping others. Now that she’s back to work, she plans to give back to the emergency fund as soon as she can.
“Trying times are memorable— and I will always remember the support from UB,” says Thompson.
Help for students like Thompson is possible because of donors like Cheryl A. May, BA ’77, BS ’77, who made a $5,000 gift to the School of Nursing emergency fund after receiving a note from Dean Marsha Lewis, PhD, RN, FAAN. “I feel blue not being able to volunteer my nursing services to a local hospital,” says May. “This gift will help me as much as whoever receives the gift.”