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Bethel senior receives emergency nurses association scholarship

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Allison Kaster, a senior in her final semester studying nursing at Bethel College, has wanted to be a nurse most of her life.

Kaster received one of two $500 scholarships awarded each semester by the Kansas State Council of the Emergency Nurses Association (KENA).

Kaster’s mother, Joanne Kaster, is a nurse practitioner who works in the emergency departments at the Via Christi St. Joseph and St. Francis campuses in Wichita, as well as assistant professor of nursing at Bethel College. As children growing up in Wichita, Allison and her older sister, Mandy, went to school near Via Christi-St. Joseph and would often go visit their mother at work in the afternoon.

Mandy, two years older, is a nurse and Allison is following her own interest in emergency care, working as an emergency technician at St. Joseph and St. Francis while preparing to graduate in May with a bachelor of science degree in nursing and take her licensure exams.

The KENA scholarships “support emergency nursing as a profession,” according to the organization’s website. To be eligible, an applicant must be pursuing an associate, baccalaureate or advanced practice degree in nursing at a National League of Nursing (NLN) accredited institution, with a focus on emergency nursing; must have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher; and must live in Kansas or be employed in health care in Kansas.

Allison Kaster submitted a short essay with her scholarship application describing why she chose nursing as a career and how she plans to apply her Bethel nursing education to the practice of emergency nursing.

“Both Mandy and I decided when we were young that we wanted to be nurses,” Kaster said. “After graduation, I plan to stay in Wichita for a while to master my nursing skill, but I hope eventually to move to the East Coast, where my mom is from, and work in a larger hospital. I’m interested in getting into critical care and trauma nursing. I can’t imagine working anywhere else than an emergency room.”

Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2010-11 analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States and is in the first tier in its category in the "U.S. News & World Report" annual ranking of “America’s Top Colleges” for 2011. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see

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