For a student researcher, the experience of presenting at conferences is invaluable. But for a college student, the ability to attend such events comes at a significant cost.

The School of Nursing’s founder, the late Ruth B. Craddock, created a program that has shaped the careers of students and alumni pursuing research.

Craddock, who died in October, established the Ruth B. Craddock Endowed Fund for Student Research after her 1995 retirement. The fund helps nursing students defray expenses associated with research projects.

Grants awarded cover data collection equipment and supplies for nursing doctoral  candidates’ dissertation projects as well as mentored experiences and expenses associated with students who present at research conferences.

Jade Montanez Chatman received financial support from the fund to present research at regional nursing conferences when she was an undergraduate student and recently as a
doctoral student.

“Being able to present your work and connect with other researchers was crucial for me,” Chatman said.

“Those connections impacted my trajectory as a nursing researcher. Seeing what other nursing programs were doing, meeting nursing researchers whose work you have read and having conversations with prominent people in the field was unique.”

While an undergraduate research scholar, Chatman developed an interest in minority health disparities when she worked with a nursing faculty member on a study of social factors
that impact African-Americans with diabetes. Chatman helped with study recruitment, assisted with participant questionnaires and input data. The experience inspired her to pursue a nursing research career path.

Currently, she is piloting a research project to identify and describe cultural, social and scholastic factors influential to a postsecondary nursing program as perceived by a sample of underserved and minority students in a high school pre-nursing program. The findings will serve as a basis for an intervention study focused on high school students interested in nursing, which will be her dissertation.

“The Ruth Craddock endowment is really appreciated because being a broke college student and trying to go to research conferences is expensive,” Chatman said. “Focusing on students engaging in research is truly needed and I’m thankful that Ruth Craddock made that contribution.”

Heather Hardin ’12, assistant professor at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University, received Craddock endowment grants four times as she
earned master’s and doctoral degrees in nursing at UofL.

The funding allowed her to attend conferences where she presented research, attended workshops on negotiating a faculty job and interviewed for and accepted a postdoctoral
training position.

“The Ruth Craddock funding was instrumental in supporting my research career, the development of my professional network and my leadership trajectory,” Hardin said. “I not only presented my research regionally and attended pre-conference workshops, but I also started the Emerging Scholars Network (student and early career nurse scientists committee) at the Midwest Nursing Research Society, where I am now on the board of directors.”