Registered Nurses Foundation of Ontario Awards recognize four rising stars in nursing

Four students in York University’s School of Nursing were named recipients of scholarships by the Registered Nurses Foundation of Ontario (RNFOO) in March: Sandra Agbanti, Samantha Johnson, Rodolfo D. Lastimosa Jr. and Lalezar Tüner.

The aim of the RNFOO is to advance individual health through fundraising and investment in Ontario nurses and nursing students. Since 1972, the foundation has distributed more than $2 million worth of awards and scholarships through annual competitions in support of continuing education, research and innovation in nursing. The four award winners from York University in 2020 were chosen from among 200 candidates by a panel of 32 judges in a rigorous application and review process.

The annual competition is supported by the three main professional bodies governing self-regulation and best practice in nursing across the province: the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO), the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) and the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA).

This year’s recipients from York University span the graduate and all three undergraduate programs in the School of Nursing: Second Entry, Collaborative and Internationally Educated Nurses’ (IEN) programs.

Sandra Agbanti, BScN student (fourth year), Second Entry Program
Sandra Agbanti

Sandra Agbanti

Agbanti received the Regina Borowska Scholarship ($1,000), an award named after a pioneer in nursing education. She is currently completing the final year of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) degree. In her words, this award means, “a lot... I really want to make a difference and live up to her values.” Agbanti aims to address challenges in healthcare spending through nurse-led initiatives with a community focus. Her personal vision is that, “We live in a safe community that promotes well-being, personal growth and development which is inclusive of all people, religions, cultures and genders.” The award recognizes her exceptional promise to lead a new generation of nursing students dedicated to becoming valuable community partners through attention to the sociopolitical context of health and healthcare delivery.

Samantha Johnson, PhD student (first year)
Samantha Johnson

Samantha Johnson

Samantha Johnson is doctoral student in the first cohort of the School of Nursing’s new PhD program. She received the SE Health H.O.P.E. Scholarship ($2,500) for her commitment to “providing expert care and enlightened solutions informed by research, enabled by technology, and delivered with sensitivity.” She is affiliated with Toronto Public Health, has multiple publications in mental health and nursing education, and a research interest in the field of public health nursing. With her doctoral study, she aims to examine the concept of advocacy and identify strategies that support greater involvement of public health nurses in the development of social justice initiatives. Her goal is to promote “leadership in education” about how to “collaborate with marginalized communities to decrease health inequities and promote system change.”

Rodolfo D. Lastimosa Jr., BScN student (fourth year), IEN Program

Rodolfo D. Lastimosa Jr

Rodolfo D. Lastimosa Jr

Rodolfo Lastimosa Jr. is registered as a physiotherapist, nurse and midwife with a master’s degree in nursing in the Philippines, and licensed as a registered practical nurse in Canada. Lastimosa Jr. was also awarded a Regina Borowska Scholarship ($1,000) to support his efforts to complete a BScN. He is entering the final semester of the IEN program and was both humbled and excited to be recognized with the award. “All of my efforts have finally paid off,” he said. Lastimosa Jr. has taken on numerous leadership roles while a student in the School of Nursing, including vice-president of the Nursing Students’ Association of Ontario, Faculty of Health student senator, internal relations director of the Nursing Students’ Association (NSAY) and senior IEN class president, to list a few. Upon graduation, he wants to work in emergency rooms as a registered nurse, eventually obtain a PhD, and continue to play an active role “inspiring others in Canada [from different countries] who are very educated to pursue their goals.”

Lalezar Tüner, BScN student (second year), Collaborative Program

Lalezar Tüner

Lalezar Tüner

Lalezar (Lale) Tüner is a second-year student in the Seneca College/York University Collaborative BScN program. She was the recipient of an RNFOO Undergraduate Scholarship ($1,000) awarded to students who “demonstrate high academic standing and outstanding potential in their chosen career.” Tüner left Turkey at the age of 17 years to study nursing at York University, and said that winning the scholarship confirms her belief in the “greater opportunities for growth” and “leadership opportunities here.” She has a passion for science and a long-time interest in a career conducting research in the field of oncology. She hopes to combine practice, research and teaching to tap the “immense potential of nurses to provide more specialized, client-centred care for cancer patients.” She plans to continue in graduate studies after obtaining a BScN.

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