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The Amy Gutmann Leadership Scholars Program, created through a $2 million donation by Penn President Amy Gutmann and her husband Michael Doyle, admitted ten scholars to this year's cohort.

Credit: Sukhmani Kaur

The first cohort of Gutmann Leadership Scholars Program at Penn Nursing is taking advantage of the resources available to them as part of the program one year after Penn President Amy Gutmann and her husband Michael Doyle announced a $2 million donation to create it.

This year's cohort has 10 scholars who meet with Penn Nursing Dean Antonia Villarruel each month to discuss leadership opportunities. The students, who are both undergraduate and graduate students, receive financial aid and faculty support to become leaders in their field.  

A specially appointed admissions committee selects the scholars based on diversity, first-generation status, academic achievement, leadership potential, and a student’s commitment to make an impact in underserved communities.

Nursing senior and Masters of Science in Nursing second year Linda Chan, who is one of the first Amy Gutmann Leadership Scholars, said she has appreciated the collaborative and supportive nature of the program among members of the cohort and Penn Nursing staff.

Chan, who is minoring in Chinese, said she wants to use her language proficiency in Mandarin and Cantonese to create change in her nursing career. 

"Coming from a low-income neighborhood community, I want to be able to give back to that specific community where I grew up," Chan said.

"Many of [the scholars] have identified, and are looking for opportunities, to build on their strengths and to make an impact,” Villarruel wrote in a statement to The Daily Pennsylvanian. "They are absolutely inspiring, and we have no doubt of their present and future leadership and impact.”

At one of the monthly meetings, Chan said that the dean and one of her faculty advisors found a program that aligned with her interests and allowed her to use her Chinese and Mandarin language skills. 

Another scholar, 2019 Nursing graduate and Masters of Science in Nursing first year Jordan Lindekens is studying to become an adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner as part of the program.

Lindekens said the program focuses on personal development — preparing students to become leaders and providing them with new opportunities.

"[The program] has been a really exciting and unexpected part of my master's program and my master's experience,” Lindekens said. “I sort of just thought, okay, I'm applying to this scholarship, but there's a lot of additional benefits like connecting with the network, and the cohort."

Master of Science in Nursing third year Jolie Jemmott is a scholar studying to become a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. She said she has enjoyed learning about different types of leadership and seeing the diversity within her group across race, ethnicity, background, and specialty.

"Our scholars are eager to take advantage of the many resources and opportunities to advance provided in this leadership journey," Kehler Family Assistant Dean of Curricular Affairs and Innovation Maria Torchia LoGrippo said in a statement to the DP.