Nurses Educational Funds (NEF) Awards Scholarships to Six JHU School of Nursing Doctoral Students

Nurses Educational Funds (NEF) Awards Scholarships to Six JHU School of Nursing Doctoral Students

The six JHU School of Nursing doctoral students who received scholarships from Nurses Educational Funds (NEF) this summer are,

  • Anne Batchelder
  • Meredith Klepper
  • Laura Mata Lopez
  • Irvin Ong
  • Elaina Parrillo
  • Rhonda Smith Wright

Nurses Educational Funds, Inc. (NEF) established in 1912, is a non-profit organization that has depended solely on donations to advance our only mission, to promote leadership and health equality through annual scholarship support for professional nurses seeking master’s and doctoral degrees in nursing education, advanced clinical practice, research, health policy, and administration. Tax exempt donations to NEF can be made by going to,

Each year the NEF scholarship application process opens on October 1st and closes on February 1st of the next year. To apply for an NEF Scholarship, go to the NEF Website at: and click on “Apply” on the Menu.

Here are this year’s JHU NEF Scholars:

Anne Batchelder

Anne Batchelder is a PhD Candidate at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, researching community building in group antenatal care in Malawi. While in nursing school, Anne joined a research project on pollution exposure during pregnancy in Bamako, Mali. Working in Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Mali, as well as her experience at the U.S. Agency for International Development with many partner countries and missions, she grew to understand the importance of community in building sustainable, human-centered, effective programs to improve maternal and child health. Throughout her career, Anne has worked to improve the lives of women and children, through psychiatric clinical nursing, through program and policy implementation, and through advocacy and political organizing, domestically and globally.

Meredith Klepper

Meredith Klepper is currently a 3rd-year PhD candidate at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing (JHSON). Meredith has been engaged in research focused on the health of Black transgender women, LGBTQI+-based nursing educational initiatives, and enriching experiences beyond the required curriculum to strengthen their position as a researcher and leader in their chosen field. Meredith’s dissertation study, entitled Interpersonal Protective Factors, Symptom Self-management, and Mental Health among Black Transgender Women: A Mixed-Methods Study, expands upon those interests and examines how interpersonal protective factors at the family and community level and health self-management are associated with psychological distress symptoms among Black transgender women.

Laura Mata Lopez

Laura Mata Lopez is pursuing a PhD at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHSON). Born and raised in Costa Rica, her practice and research are informed by stories of hardship and resilience passed down by generations of women in her family, and those entrusted to her by patients. These fuel her commitment to highlight the perspectives of Latino(a) immigrants and communities in research. Through the mentorship of Dr. Teresa Brockie at JHSON, Mata Lopez is conducting research to better understand the historical and contemporary factors that exacerbate the risk, and protect from, suicide and suicide clusters among reservation-based Native American youth at Fort Belknap, Montana. Ms. Mata Lopez is passionate about creating and fostering community-based pathways to nursing education – particularly in historically marginalized and medically under-resourced communities.

Irvin Ong

Irvin Ong is presently pursuing his Doctor of Nursing Practice at Johns Hopkins University. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Nursing 2008 and completed his Doctor of Education degree in Nursing Curriculum and Instruction in 2018. After migrating to the United States in 2016, Dr. Ong had the opportunity to provide care for patients and residents in a skilled nursing facility in Illinois. He witnessed needless suffering and casualties at the frontlines during the first and second waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. This unfortunate event and the perennial health challenges have inspired him to advance his nursing role as an Adult-Gerontological Primary Care Nurse Practitioner working as a full-time faculty. To put his DNP knowledge into action he will pursue nursing excellence through the mantra of teaching, research, leadership, and service. In the future, Dr. Ong plans to have clinic days in either outpatient or long-term care facilities to help promote better access to healthcare among older adults and underserved communities.

Elaina Parrillo

Elaina Parrillo is currently a candidate for her DNP Pediatric Primary Care NP and PhD at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. She is researching how to improve cancer survivorship care for children and families during the transition to school. Her work focuses on how parent perceptions of the support they have received during their child’s transition to school and their understanding of the available resources and needs of a pediatric cancer survivor influence their child’s psychosocial wellbeing during the initial transition to school. She is excited to research best practices in the field of pediatric cancer survivorship and translate the findings to the nursing care of pediatric patients and their families in the primary care setting.
Elaina intends to use her degree to work at both a research-intensive university and in primary care to advance pediatric survivorship care. This scholarship supports her goal of becoming a nurse-clinician scientist in the field of cancer survivorship care for children and their families during the transition back to school.

Rhonda Smith Wright

Rhonda Smith Wright is in her fourth year as a PhD candidate at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. She first became passionate about improving treatment access and outcomes for marginalized and underrepresented populations in 2003, during her service as an administrator and later deputy assistant commissioner in the Baltimore City Health Department. In that role she managed oversight and data collection of health promotion, disease prevention, and surveillance programs addressing the spread of TB, HIV, and sexually transmitted infection. From this perspective, she could clearly see the obvious disparities in health outcomes that disproportionately affected communities of color and resource-deprived neighborhoods. Through this experience she became acutely aware of the many complex factors – social, economic, geographic, etc. – that play a role in the successful prevention and treatment of communicable diseases, as well as how the impact of these factors is exacerbated in racially segregated cities and low-resource settings. Ms. Wright is determined to develop a program of research at JHU that incorporates the use of community-level data, health outcomes, and nursing interventions to address health inequity.

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