NMSU nursing scholarship for students in critical need

It’s been five years since a daughter, soon to earn her doctorate, asked her mother to do the honors of “hooding” her. And, it’s been five years since that mother’s life was cut short.

In 2013, Lucy Sandoval, a New Mexico State University nursing professor for Doña Ana Community College, battled for a week in the hospital after being struck by a car. Five years later, her daughter Andrea Sandoval is still working to keep her mother’s memory alive through an endowed scholarship just short of the money needed to fund the permanent endowment.

The Sandoval family, along with passionate nursing students, joined forces in 2013 to start raising the $15,000 needed by 2018. The money that supports an endowed scholarship is invested to achieve income that is then awarded as scholarships every year in perpetuity, creating a lasting legacy of giving for years to come. Now in its final year to reach the $15,000 mark, Andrea Sandoval says they still need $5,800 to finalize the endowment.

“When the scholarship was created, we were all trying to cope with the loss and putting the pieces of our lives back together,” Andrea Sandoval said. “I am currently an anesthesiologist, and at the time of her death, was finishing my last year of medical school. I asked her in December 2012 if she would be the person to ‘hood’ me at our graduation ceremony, an honor bestowed upon a graduating student’s mentor who also holds a doctorate or medical degree. She cried when I asked if she would accept this honor and enthusiastically agreed. She passed away not a month later and prior to being able to enjoy that moment. I would love now to be able to honor her by making this scholarship one that carries on.”

It is an honor Andrea Sandoval describes as one for a “stubborn and determined lady.” Raised in poverty in rural, eastern New Mexico, Lucy Sandoval graduated high school alongside a class of eight people. She never desired to attend college and took a housekeeping job soon after. Yet, her passions changed when she moved to Las Cruces and decided to pursue a nursing degree.

Lucy-Sandoval

“She used to always tell me how difficult it was to go to college because her educational level was below what was expected for a typical high school graduate,” Andrea Sandoval said. “She had to take remedial-type classes and told me how much work she had to do just to get herself up to speed with her peers.”

She soon graduated with her bachelor’s degree and began working as a registered nurse on the nightshift to continue her educational journey. While managing being a mother of three and a wife, attending sporting events, cleaning house, making dinner and more, Lucy Sandoval chased after a clinical nursing specialist degree that eventually turned into a doctorate in psychology.

“Looking back, I just think how crazy it all seems that she was able to do that,” Andrea Sandoval said.

Now as Dr. Lucy Sandoval, she took on many careers as a counseling psychologist at NMSU, in private practice and within the local school district. About two years prior to the accident, she had started her most passionate work yet at DACC.

“It was evident with her passing that she had already made such a huge mark there,” Andrea Sandoval said. “When I would speak to her about work, she was constantly bouncing ideas off of me for ways to make her lectures more engaging and fun or impactful.”

“Lucy’s Nurses,” the self-titled cohort of DACC nursing students mentored by Lucy Sandoval, remember those classes to this day, gaining insights and perspectives that students say remain five years later. In that timeframe, the group and family has hosted Zumba fundraisers and asked many relatives and friends to give in hopes of raising the money needed for the endowment. With $5,800 yet to go, Andrea Sandoval now asks for the community’s help.

For more information on upcoming fundraising events, please visit Lucy’s Nurses Facebook page. If you would like to make a gift directly to this scholarship, visit giving.nmsu.edu/lucysandoval.html.

Story last updated May 10, 2018
By Angel Mendez

© 2015 New Mexico State University

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