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It’s one of the most inspiring parts of the year – celebrating the winners of the prestigious Emily Anderson Resiliency Award.

A 1942 graduate of Nebraska Methodist College and longtime registered nurse, Emily Anderson began her career amid the gunfire and pandemonium of Omaha Beach on D-Day. Her medical detachment was among the first to come to shore.

The NMC Alumni Department awarded its first-ever Emily Anderson Resiliency Award in November 2020. It includes a one-time, $500 award to assist with education expenses.

Emily credited her resilience to the training she received at NMC. Each of our 2021 award winners exemplifies her spirit.

  • “I want to help provide people with answers and comfort.”

    Dalliya Conway, 19, won’t graduate from NMC until 2023, but she is already a skilled and compassionate caregiver.

    “We all work together at home to take care of my sister,” Dalliya said.

    Dalliya’s older sister, Diamond, slipped into a two-week coma in 2017 after a catastrophic asthma attack. She emerged requiring 24-hour care, unable to walk, speak or feed herself. Her family’s experience with Diamond and the health care system inspired Dalliya to pursue her degree in Respiratory Care at NMC.

    “At some point, it felt like we weren’t given enough answers,” Dalliya said. “I want to help provide people with answers and comfort, and give them hope when they need it.”

    Dalliya’s Resiliency Award nominator Jackie Lee met the teen in July 2019, through NMC’s Upward Bound program.

    “She made an immediate impression on me,” Jackie wrote. “Dalliya is goal oriented and responsible. She uses her strong time management skills and maturity to keep herself balanced and centered.”

    Dalliya juggles a full course load with her responsibilities at home. She takes it all day-by-day, she said, employing a blend of grit and positivity.

    “I realized, after my sister’s accident, that falling into a depression is not going to make her better,” Dalliya said. “From there on out, I always wanted to stay positive and be the light in someone else’s life. Staying positive and having a positive mindset is going to keep things moving forward.”

    “I am so excited to take care of my community."

    From the day she was born, Alexandria “Allie” Enderle has been defying the odds.

    “My doctors said I wouldn’t survive, but here I am,” she said.

    Allie was born with a congenital heart condition that has created lifelong cardiac issues.

    “I found a nurse who took me under her wing and told me I could do anything I wanted.”

    She wanted to be a nurse. Getting there has meant overcoming hurdle after hurdle, including the added challenge of a learning disability, a global pandemic and emerging health issues.

    In 2018, one week into her mother-baby clinical, Allie experienced more than 40 seizures over the course of one weekend and was hospitalized in ICU. Lisa Johnson, PhD, who nominated Allie for the Resiliency Award, described her as “the epitome of resilience.”

    After being told, at another institution, that she would never be a nurse, Allie found her place at NMC, defying the odds to meet every academic and personal challenge. During her junior year, she was near the top of her class in both her mother-baby and pediatric courses. Despite her own learning disability, she has become a sought after tutor, assisting more than 35 classmates at one point.

    Allie says she is “so excited to take care of my community” after she graduates in the spring of 2022. Never one to shy away from a challenge, she is also thinking of pursuing a graduate degree as a nurse educator to help others realize their nursing dreams.

    “Everything I’ve been through has been a learning experience.”

    Rachel Jurgensen has embraced her inner buffalo. When storms arise, buffalo don’t wait them out or run from them. They charge head-on into the squalls and power through them.

    “No matter what you’re facing, you still get up and you do it. You take care of your responsibilities,” Rachel said. “I want to raise my daughters to be strong, independent women who are able to get through hard times.”

    Rachel has weathered her share. She entered NMC’s Radiology Tech Program at the age of 30, during the peak of the pandemic and after the sudden loss of her children’s father. She said she felt overwhelmed but knew she needed to forge a new path for herself and her girls, now ages 9 and 11.

    My Grandma J. always told me, ‘Life is hard, but do what you love,’” Rachel said.

    For her, that means caring for people as a radiology tech, optimally at Methodist Hospital. “I want to treat people the way that I would have wanted my grandma to be treated.”

    Resiliency Award nominator Lisa Johnson wrote, “So many students may have run from a new challenge when faced with everything that Rachel faced. Instead, she ran full force into the storm. … She is an incredible asset to this campus.”

    Rachel is expected to graduate in the summer of 2022.

    “Being here at NMC, they have given me the confidence that I was meant to be here,” she said.

    “Even during the hardest times in life, you can still overcome them and do better things.”

    Charleen Marsh is that student “you wish you could clone,” wrote her Resiliency Award nominator Kathleen Rollins. Set to graduate with her Imaging Sciences BS Degree in the spring of 2022, Charleen was recently named “Outstanding Student in the NMC Clinical Setting.”

    Her success hasn’t been without struggle. Charleen came to NMC after suffering a tragic loss – a car accident that took the life of her boyfriend. Both were attending Peru State at the time. Charleen moved back home and took a year off to regain her balance.

    “As tough as it was, I look at the bigger picture,” Charleen said. “Knowing him, he wouldn’t want me to sit around and do nothing.”

    So now, she is doing a bit of everything. In addition to achieving the second highest GPA in her cohort, Charleen works at Methodist Hospital as an X-ray technician. She said she became intrigued with medical imaging during her recovery year. She also serves as an NMC Ambassador and helps organize a golf tournament to fund a scholarship in her boyfriend’s memory.

    “It would have been very easy for Charleen to give up and fall victim to her unyielding grief. Instead, she showed great resiliency,” Kathleen wrote.

    Charleen said going through the pain of her loss taught her that she can overcome incredible challenge and keep moving forward: “It’s how you overcome it that starts your story and makes you who you are.”