HRMC Nursing Scholarship Winners Announced

A childhood illness and a desire to help others led two area students to pursue a nursing degree and start their careers at Huron Regional Medical Center.

hrmc huron sd dwu nursing programMellissa Spitzer of Mitchell and Morgan Aughenbaugh of Huron have been chosen as the recipients of the Build Huron nursing scholarships at Dakota Wesleyan University (DWU) in Mitchell.

Caring for her five-year-old son after he developed a massive blood-clot on his brain inspired Spitzer, who is a junior at DWU, to begin her nursing degree and apply for the Build Huron Nursing Scholarship program which provides tuition payment for a bachelor of nursing degree in return for a commitment to work at HRMC for five years.

“Taking care of him, flushing his PICC line and giving him shots twice a day throughout his illness really inspired me to take that next step and pursue the degree,” said Spitzer, whose son is now nine years old and doing much better .”Being a mom, I’ve always been interested in taking care of the health needs of my three kids at home before you take them to the doctor. Becoming a nurse at HRMC will allow me to use my skills and talents to care for many others and I think be very rewarding.”

Aughenbaugh, who is a sophomore at DWU and the daughter of Melissa and Kirk Aughenbaugh of Huron, has always been in interested in caring for others and wanted to earn a degree which would allow her to return home to be close to her family.

“Having a job where I can take care of people is something I’ve always known I wanted to do,” said Aughenbaugh. “Huron is my home and I want to stay a part of it. I am really looking forward to taking care of patients in the hospital and making an impact on peoples’ lives and taking care of them.”

“Nursing is an exciting and challenging career. Nurses are hands-on health professionals who provide focused and highly personalized care to promote health, prevent disease and help people cope with illness,” said Gail Robeson, RN, MBA, vice president of nursing for HRMC. “Mellissa and Morgan were chosen as the recipients for these scholarships because of their hope and compassion and their sincere desire to make a difference in people’s lives.”

The Build Huron scholarship program offers four-year bachelor of science nursing degree scholarships at Dakota Wesleyan University (DWU) and was created through an endowment by Paul and Muffy Christen and contributions by HRMC. The nursing program can be completed at the Mitchell campus and through clinical education sites in Huron. Christen has also enlisted the support of the Huron Regional Medical Center board of directors to offer two additional four-year scholarships. In return, the four recipients of the Build Huron Nursing Scholarships will commit to working as registered nurses at HRMC or a clinic in Huron for five years.

“We are pleased to join the Christens in encouraging local students to obtain nursing degrees and then come back to work at HRMC,” said David Dick, HRMC president and CEO. “We know from history that if a nursing student can receive at least part of his or her education in Huron, they are much more likely to stay here for their nursing career.”

DWU supports the Build Huron program by offering discounted tuition to the scholarship recipients, making it even more affordable for the students to complete their BSN degree and return to Huron to work as a registered nurse. The scholarships will cover all yearly tuition and fees except for $4,000 which is the responsibility of the student.

These nursing education scholarship offerings are a result of ongoing work by the Huron Community Campus Nursing Task Force, which was created to address the nursing education needs in the Huron area. In addition to the Build Huron scholarships, the task force fostered a partnership with Lake Area Technical Institute to offer a licensed practical nurse program through Huron Community Campus. The group continues to work toward providing nursing education options and support for nursing students, along with recruiting and assisting interested nursing students.

Applications for the Build Huron Nursing Scholarship Program are available by contacting DWU admissions at 800- 333-8506 or Applications for the LPN program are available at HCC. For more information or to talk about a career in nursing through education in Huron, contact HCC Executive Director Doug Pietz at 353-8518 or

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