Brett Douvarjo is a nurse, an online nursing student at Millersville University and the recipient of the Wehrheim scholarship. This scholarship is given to students who have unusual or special circumstances impacting the completion of their education, such as simultaneously supporting or caring for his/her parents, children or spouse. Liselotte R. Wehrheim, the namesake of the scholarship and Millersville’s newly named Wehrheim School of Nursing, was a non-traditional student who graduated with her degree in nursing in 1974 at age 59.   

“Being named the recipient of this scholarship gave me the opportunity to finish what I started,” says Douvarjo, who paused his pursuit of a degree to care for his wife after she received a cancer diagnosis. Shortly after he dropped out, he got a call from the office. “They asked if I wanted to finish because I was so close,” he explains. “I said yes, and Dr. Kelly Kuhns offered me the scholarship. I owe a lot to Millersville University. My professors have been extremely understanding [of my extenuating circumstances.]”  

Like many, Douvarjo faced a number of personal challenges during the throws of the pandemic. He found a way to keep going, all while shouldering the care of his wife, an unexpected illness of his own, his job as a nurse and schoolwork. “In the midst of difficult life circumstances, I kept myself grounded by providing for my family, caring for my family, and teaching my boys what life is all about and how to be men when they enter the real world,” he says. “It’s about identifying what you want, setting a course and never giving up. Demonstrating that example to my family is very important.” 

He shares that he’s grateful to the University and the faculty and staff of the Wehrheim School of Nursing for helping him to achieve his goals. “Dr. Kuhns, the department chair has always been a great example of professionalism, education, understanding and caring,” he explains. “In many ways, if it wasn’t for Dr. Kuhns, I would not be in school right now finishing my degree.” 

Douvarjo, who recently accepted a new role as the director of nursing at Pediatric Specialty Care in Lancaster, has some advice for students thinking about going back to school. “The really important thing, the most important thing you need to do is to identify what you want to do. Once you do that, put all your energy into achieving that,” he shares.  

Do you have a goal you want to complete? See if Millersville University is right for you by clicking here. 

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