Even though Erneston Maurissaint '16 passed the state’s nursing board exam on his first try, his road to success was not an easy one.

Diagnosed in elementary school with a learning disability, he struggled throughout middle and high school, feeling ashamed that he wasn’t smart enough to gain an education. However, his dream of becoming a nurse never wavered after witnessing the compassionate care his mother received as she suffered from kidney disease when he was 10 years old.

With support from UMass Lowell’s Bring Diversity to Nursing (BDN) program – an initiative that provides scholarships, stipends, technology, equipment, tutoring and mentoring to diverse students – Maurissaint realized his dream.

“BDN was my family, my lifeline through all of school,” says Maurissaint. “Because of the scholarships I received, I could cut down on the number of hours I had to work and concentrate on my studies. The tutoring and mentoring all helped me resolve any issues I was having.”

The School of Nursing’s clinical partnerships provided Maurissaint with work experience at Children’s Hospital, Lowell General Hospital, Whittier Pavilion and Lahey Clinic.

“I chose UMass Lowell because of the supportive faculty and endless resources,” says Maurissaint. “I feel that the faculty shaped me to become not a good nurse, but an extraordinary nurse. I am very vocal about how amazing our nursing faculty truly is. It is the reason I chose UMass Lowell.”

Maurissaint decided to continue in a collaborative residency program for new graduates offered by the university in partnership with Lowell General Hospital and Genesis HealthCare.

He says: “I want to be the best nurse I can be.”