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From Baltimore, for Baltimore

Mandler Scholarship helped Brittany Kelly earn her nursing degree and serve her hometown
Posted February 18, 2016
Brittany Kelly (left) with colleague Rosalind Patty at Henderson-Hopkins School. IMAGE: Will Kirk/ Brittany Kelly (left) with colleague Rosalind Patty at Henderson-Hopkins School. IMAGE: Will Kirk/

East Baltimore is Brittany Kelly's neighborhood.

It's where she grew up. It's where she volunteered with her grandmother at church. It's what she thought of as she worked with young girls in South Carolina at risk for gang violence. And it's where she returned to pursue her nursing education and make a difference.

"A lot of nursing schools had programs I was interested in, but they didn't have the part about giving back to my community," says Kelly, recipient of the John I. and Marilyn S. Mandler Scholarship and a 2015 graduate of the School of Nursing.

Marilyn Mandler, a 1956 School of Nursing alumna, established the scholarship in memory of her husband, John, a 1956 graduate of Hopkins medical school. Since the 2003 endowment, Marilyn Mandler has continued to support the scholarship fund with annual gifts.

In choosing schools, Kelly saw Hopkins as the perfect choice because of its reputation, its location, and the access and opportunities she would have. "If it weren't for the scholarship, I wouldn't be talking to you about this or about all the great experiences I've had."

These include working in the Johns Hopkins Hospital emergency room, caring for patients suffering from hepatitis C, and her current role: being part of the School of Nursing’s health suite staff at the new Henderson-Hopkins School. Henderson-Hopkins is a K-8 community partnership in East Baltimore that is operated in part by the university’s School of Education and becoming a national model for education reform.

"There are health resources in East Baltimore, but a lot of our parents don't know about them. They don't know where to go, or the information gets lost in translation," Kelly says. "My job is to connect students and parents with established providers so they don’t fall through the cracks."

Her work also includes infusing health education into the early-childhood curriculum, managing the school’s immunization records, and providing screenings and other services to students and their families.

Kelly, who plans to continue her education as a nurse practitioner or doctoral student, seeks to blend her community-based health care experience with her passion to help adolescents and young African-American women in Baltimore protect themselves from hepatitis, HIV, and other infectious diseases common among these at-risk populations.

"The benefit of having someone who's from this city, who loves this city, who understands and wants to work in Baltimore is fabulous," says the Elsie M. Lawler Professor and Chair of the Department of Community and Public Health, Phyllis Sharps, PhD, RN, FAAN.

Sharps, the School of Nursing’s associate dean for Community and Global Programs, director of the Center for Global Initiatives, and one of Kelly’s mentors, adds:

"If we can multiply Brittany a thousand times through scholarships, we'll be doing a great thing."

"To give back to East Baltimore is very important to me," Kelly adds. "Knowing I can connect with people that I grew up with is what I look forward to every day. It’s what motivates me."

Please consider making a gift today to help support students like Brittany Kelly.

To learn how you can establish a nursing scholarship, please contact Akudo Anyanwu, associate dean of development for the School of Nursing.