“It’s funny…I never wanted my name to be on it at all,” Maura Rasmussen said. “I don’t want this to be about me. I want it to be about the scholarship.”
Rasmussen is the longtime manager of enrollment and an academic advisor for the RN-BS program at the School of Nursing. In 2015, she started the Tracy and Maura Rasmussen Online RN-BS Scholarship fund.
While there were nursing scholarships for the undergraduate pre-licensure program and the two graduate programs, there were none that specifically supported anyone in the RN-BS program. But Rasmussen saw a major need among the students she advised.
“They’re out there having to plug along on their own,” she said.
Unlike the pre-licensure program, RN-BS students already hold their nurse’s license, so the majority are working full time.
“Everyone thinks that it’s going to be easy for them to pay because they have a job, and that’s just not true,” Rasmussen said. “I get to hear their stories, I know they need funding.”
For students who are dual-enrolled in the program, not only are they paying for their bachelor’s from Boise State, but they’re simultaneously earning their associate degree in nursing from another institution.
Students are also typically in the stage of life where they’ve settled down roots; it’s not uncommon for students to be paying mortgages and raising children while completing classes.
“You have to take into consideration all of the different stories that come from these students,” Rasmussen said. “I’ve had two students who each had six kids. One of them was a single mother.”
Rasmussen wanted to do more to support them, so she started the scholarship fund. When her husband of almost 24 years died unexpectedly in 2019, she renamed the fund in his honor.
“He saw my passion for the students and supported me in everything that I did for them,” she said.
Passion with deep roots
Rasmussen stepped in as the first staff member for the RN-BS program in 2008. She was an administrative assistant at the time and was asked to help with program advising for a summer.
So she read the program catalog from beginning to end and asked questions to learn as much as she could about the program. Soon she found herself not just understanding it, but developing a passion for it.
But it was the students who really hooked Rasmussen.
“It became important to me because you get to hear their stories,” Rasmussen said. “You get to see who they are, and you get to see their struggles.” Her eyes lit up as she recalled one student who entered the program after earning her GED at age 40.
“She got straight A’s in the bachelor’s program all the way through both her [associate degree] and Boise State,” Rasmussen said. “I mean, how can they not touch you? I still remember these people. They still mean something to me.”
Rasmussen cares deeply for these students pursuing a bachelor’s in nursing outside of a traditional four-year program.
“We’ve given them this other option to still get to that goal,” she said. “I just want to see these students get what they want. They’ve got my heart.”
Sprouting from humble beginnings, the fund has grown to help more and more students each year. Even if it’s just ten dollars from every paycheck, Rasmussen knows no gift is too small.
Her ultimate dream? Have enough contributors to be able to award $100,000 in scholarships annually.
“That would make a difference in a whole lot of students’ lives,” she said.
Become a supporter of RN-BS students
Questions about how you can help? Contact our development team:
Senior Director of Development
Director of Development