Samantha at Central Community College

Samantha smiling in her uniformGrand Island, NE

Samantha’s climb was worth the wait. 

Samantha was raised in Columbus, NE, as the youngest of five sisters in a single parent household. Her childhood was marked by struggles with anxiety, depression, and a learning disability that impacted her ability to read, spell, and write.

She let none of this hold her back and graduated from Columbus High School in 2010. Even then she knew that she wanted to be employed in the medical field.

Armed with a goal, Samantha enrolled at Central Community College (CCC).  Her roommate was a student in the nursing program. The more they talked, the more Samantha knew that nursing was the path for her. What she didn’t know was the climb she had in front of her. She took the classes needed to enter the nursing program, applied, and was placed on a two-year waitlist to start. In the meantime, she decided to obtain an Associate in Applied Science Degree and transfer to Midland University in the Fall of 2012, but struggled with her classes and did not pass her first semester.

Samantha returned to Columbus, and after contacting the director of the nursing program at CCC, she learned of an opening in Practical Nursing Program. She quickly picked up where she left off, only to be delivered another blow. She was forced to move from her mother’s home once it was known that living there disqualified her Mom from getting housing assistance. Samantha was homeless.

That’s when she heard about the Health Profession Opportunity Grant (HPOG), Project HELP, and met Success Coach, CoLynn Paprocki. For the next 18 months, CoLynn was always there to help support and guide her every step of the way. Samantha received school supplies, gas cards to get to school, and scholarships every semester to help pay for classes. She continued receiving support from CoLynn after graduating with her Practical Nursing Diploma in May 2014. CoLynn helped her find a job and prepare for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) exam. Samantha started working as an LPN in a critical access hospital in Genoa, NE, after passing the NCLEX in July.

Samantha decided to keep climbing the ladder. Samantha was accepted into the Resident Nurse program at Northeast Community College (NECC) and started fall of 2017. CoLynn let Samantha know that NECC is a partner college with Project HELP. She could receive HPOG assistance there also. She graduated in May 2018 with the guidance of CoLynn and NECC Success Coach Tim Young. She completed all of this while caring for her mother and battling her learning and mental health challenges.

Before Project HELP, Samantha earned an annual salary of $17,280. When she completed her LPN, her starting salary was $25,920 and was raised to $34,698. After she completes her RN degree, her new starting salary will be $43,200. On a personal note, Samantha is  now married and owns her own home. 

“I truly would not be where I am today without all the help and guidance from CoLynn and Tim (from Project HELP).”

This success story was self-identified by the grantee and information contained in this document was provided by the grantee.

Samantha at Central Community College

February 13, 2019
Last Reviewed: February 14, 2019