For Bouras Scholar, Service Comes First

February 21, 2018

For Melanie Tanis, there has always been one goal: to someday become a nurse.

Well, sort of.

As Melanie explained in her scholarship application to the Community Foundation of New Jersey, “a nurse is a person dedicated to the care and welfare of the lives of others… so in actuality, my goal in life isn’t just to become a nurse, but rather to dedicate my life to helping others.”

And help others she has.

A longtime member of the Pequannock Township First Aid Squad, Melanie actually applied to become a member two months before her 16th birthday (the minimum age requirement), so that she could start as soon as she was technically able.

This drive to help others made Melanie an ideal applicant for a scholarship from the Anna K. and Nicholas J. Bouras Scholarship Fund at the Community Foundation. The Bouras Scholarship emphasizes “character, work-ethic, service and leadership qualities” in honor of the Fund’s namesakes.

“I heard about the scholarship through my mom, who works at Valley Hospital, where the request for applicants was distributed to all the hospital staff,” recalled Melanie. “I was almost positive that since it was so widely broadcasted, many people would apply, and I’d never get the scholarship, but I am so thankful to be able to say, I was the recipient, and I couldn’t be more grateful.”

Melanie has gone on to pursue her BS in Nursing at William Paterson University, continuing to serve in the First Aid Squad and taking a position in the Valley Hospital Operating Room. At Valley, she assists staff and ensures patients are medically stable for surgery, coordinates the operating room schedules, reviews lab work, answers phone calls, and interacts with patients.

By Summer 2017, Melanie had taken a new position at Valley Hospital, as a Patient Care Associate in the Emergency Department. She has also taken on the role of tutor in University’s Nursing Enrichment and Tutoring Center. And if that wasn’t enough, Melanie traveled to Bolivia last summer on a church mission to perform humanitarian work and distribute much needed goods to the local people.

“I am so beyond thankful to the Community Foundation and the donors of the Bouras scholarship for the wonderful privilege it provides me,” said Melanie. “Going into college, I was often worried about how I would pay for my education, and I was working several jobs to ensure that I would be able to pay. Receiving this scholarship allows me to focus all of my attention on my school studies, without having to worry about paying for my education. Becoming a nurse has been my lifelong dream, because it is my greatest desire to help people who need to be helped. Nursing school is extremely difficult, with reason, so that nurses are best prepared for the responsibility they hold. Having a scholarship for my education increases my ability to prepare myself for this amazing field of work, as I am able to focus all my attention on learning everything I need to know.”

Melanie added that Faith Krueger, the Community Foundation’s Scholarship Coordinator, “became more of a mentor to me than a contact at an organization. Every time we spoke, she told me how well I was doing, and how proud she was of me, and encouraged me to go on and do great things. Her support was something I never expected, but something I have grown to appreciate and rely on. Words cannot express how thankful I am to her and Community Foundation for their friendship, encouragement, and support.”

Click to learn more about scholarship funds at the Community Foundation of New Jersey.