Portia is currently pursuing an associate degree in nursing at Wake Technical Community College. She works part-time while getting her education and raising two children ages 3 and 7.

There have been many struggles Portia has dealt with during her journey, from divorcing her children’s father, difficulties accessing childcare, lack of family support due to distance and economics, general financial hardships, her own recurring health issues, to the passing of a very dear friend and unfortunately, a patient, who was also pursuing the nursing program and lost her life battling COVID-19.

After a lifetime of trying to shoulder things alone, Portia is finding help within her inner circle. In doing so, she’s found people who truly want to help her succeed. By choosing to be vulnerable with others and share the struggles she’s been facing while working towards this degree, she has been consumed with love and support throughout some really dark moments. A big part of that love and support came from the instructor in her nursing program who encouraged her to apply to this scholarship.

While working to complete her associate degree, Portia has been working as a nurse technician in the intensive care unit at WakeMed Cary Hospital. She is thrilled to be working in the ICU and has made wonderful working relationships with her coworkers and managers. This is an important experience for her as her next goal is to become a nurse anesthetist. Applying to the certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) program requires previous work experience as a registered nurse in an ICU. As a CRNA, her goal is to spend portions of her later career working with Doctors Without Borders.

Despite the hardships, the discouragement, the setbacks, and the very sobering moments she knows that one day she’ll be in the position to give back the same support that she has been shown.

“One day, I’ll be in the position to give freely to others just like I incredulously watched people give to me: emotional support, financial support, educational support, and true friendship. I honestly don’t know what I’ll do financially to complete the nursing program without a scholarship, but I do know that I won’t quit working to give my two boys a better life, to give support to others who are struggling with their own goals or mental health, to give healthcare as a nurse, to continue my education even further, to give financially, and to give friendship in a time of need just as I’ve had given to me.”