Nursing Schools Almanac is proud to announce Hana Arega as the second annual recipient of the Aspiring Nurse Scholarship. Hana recently graduated from West Seattle High School. She is currently pursuing a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree at the University of Washington, where she is a member of the Class of 2020.

The scholarship committee selected Hana from a field of over 3,500 applicants. We were very impressed with her track record of academic excellence, including four AP courses in science and mathematics. We also enjoyed her well-written essay that illustrated a specific passion for the nursing profession. You can find her winning essay reproduced below.

We'd like to congratulate Hana on her accomplishments, and we wish her well in her future endeavors!


It hurt to breathe. It felt like hundreds of needles were stabbing my lungs every time I exhaled. I, however, could not tell my mother about this condition, at least not until I had done everything in my power to stop the pain. Last time my younger brother was sick, he displayed asthma symptoms; he was wheezing and cried from chest pain while he gasped for fresh air. And seeing her son in such a condition made my mother lose her mind. I could never forget the terror in my mother’s face and I wanted to never see my mother in such a state again.

As I replayed the memory of my brother in my head, my pain slowly started to become forceful. Within the next 30 minutes, I was sitting in the corner shivering, and my hands and legs were as cold as ice. When I was no longer able to control myself, I gave up -- I screamed for help.

My mother, as usual, came rushing and carried me to the children’s hospital. The doctor diagnosed me with hypothermia, a concerning drop in body temperature. That night, I slept at the hospital under the care of nurses and doctors.

One nurse brought me toys, told me old Ethiopian folk tales, and allowed me to play with her stethoscope. She knew how to make a sick 10-year-old forget her pain and how to calm a concerned mother, and that was the day I learned what I wanted to become.

In addition to this, I have always enjoyed and excelled in my math and science classes. When I first moved to the United States in 2009, the only common language I shared with my classmates and teachers was mathematics. I wasn’t obligated to speak English to understand what my teacher was teaching; all I had to do was stay engaged and gaze at the numbers on the board and make the connections. In my high school science classes, I tried to expand my knowledge beyond the basics and delved deeper into concepts I was introduced to. I became so obsessed with the fascinating topics I learned that I spent hours at home watching chemistry and biology online tutorials on websites like Khan Academy and Socratic, especially on topics that related the science to real life and the human body.

My goal of wanting to become a nurse was further reassured when I started working as a paid intern at Hands on Medicine Clinic with a family nurse practitioner. Shelda Holmes mentored me and provided me with many opportunities, such as shadowing, that allowed me to see what a nurse practitioner really does.

Currently, my long-term goal is to become a family nurse practitioner. As a nurse practitioner, I hope to diagnose and treat diseases as well as take care of children. Although I am currently unsure of the time, I also plan to return to my community in Yabello, Ethiopia, to get involved in public health issues concerning children.