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It's about hard work, family, and a network

Annual givers helped Zach Collen ('20) finish strong when financial challenges due to the pandemic upended his finals week.

Zach Collen portrait

It's about hard work, family, and a network

Annual givers helped Zach Collen ('20) finish strong when financial challenges due to the pandemic upended his finals week.

College of Nursing senior Zach Collen doesn’t mince words about how hard he and his family have had to work in order to pay for his education.

“I have watched my mother work one full-time and three part-time jobs so that I could concentrate on my studies and not have to worry about finances,” Zach said.

And the COVID-19 pandemic certainly didn’t help. While it upended all the traditional celebrations for an entire class of seniors, it also forced many students into difficult financial situations that took away from their ability to focus on completing the school year. That was certainly true for Zach, and that’s why a scholarship from the Nursing Student Emergency Fund couldn’t have come at a better time.

“This generous gift allowed me to concentrate on my studies when I was under financial pressure to help my mom with some of my monthly expenses,” Zach said.

Zach wasn’t alone. Collectively, annual donors gave more than $763,500 to college-level emergency funds—which went right to work, helping students overcome financial challenges.

As Zach prepares to make the leap into the workforce, gratitude is top of mind, and someday he hopes to pay it forward financially. Until then, he plans to pay it forward through his actions: treating his patients with respect and dignity, making them feel special and taking extra care with those that are most in need. And during a pandemic, that’s an extremely reassuring thing to hear.

 

Sekeita Johnson
Sekeita Lewis-Johnson,'97, Nursing, a Spartan Loyal annual donor, gave to support her college through CrowdPower during the pandemic.
I support MSU because others supported me. As a first-generation college student, I knew nothing about college living. Many people contributed financially along the way. Even still, I had hard times. I show gratitude by paying it forward.
Author: Devon Barrett, '11