Dolores Grunigen and her late husband Dr. Forest Grunigen spent much of their time together in the 1960s and 70s advocating in Sacramento to establish regulations and guidelines for allied health care providers such as nurse practitioners, physician assistants and emergency medical technicians. It was during this time that the Grunigens met Lulu Wolf Hassenplug, the newly retired dean of UCLA’s School of Nursing.
The Grunigens and Hassenplug worked together on the nurse practitioner bill to promote the expanded role for NPs. Through their advocacy work and mutual respect and belief in allied health care in every aspect, nursing in particular, they forged a close bond. Dolores says that they shared much in common, and noted Hassenplug’s enthusiasm about the paramount importance of advanced nursing education through the graduate level. Dolores and Forest shared this passion for higher education, and upon Lulu’s death in 1995, they helped establish the Lulu Wolf Hassenplug Chair in Nursing at UCLA to honor their dear friend. In addition, after her husband’s death in 1999, Dolores endowed the Dolores and Forest Grunigen Scholarship to support students seeking advanced nursing degrees at UCLA, and later established a charitable remainder trust.
Says Dolores, “Our years of struggle with the legislative body has encouraged me to continue to promote nursing through active committee participation.”
Through Dolores’ generosity, nearly 40 students have benefitted from important financial assistance since the Grunigen Scholarship’s establishment. This year’s Grunigen Scholars are Danielle Arbios, Anna Kitabjian and Mae Khristine Ubaldo. All three look forward to graduating in June 2017 with their Master of Science degrees in Nursing.
Danielle Arbios, currently a second-year student in the Master’s Entry Clinical Nursing (MECN) program, also attended UCLA for her undergraduate education and graduated cum laude in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychobiology. Currently, Danielle volunteers at Ronald Reagan Medical Center in the Nursing Volunteer Program, which allows her to practice her nursing skills and experience invaluable patient interactions. After graduation she hopes to work in a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at a large teaching hospital.
“This scholarship has greatly benefitted me during my time at UCLA. It has alleviated that stress in my life and allowed me to put all my efforts toward becoming the best nurse I can be by allowing me to spend my time volunteering each week and focusing on my studies. For that, I will be forever grateful. Thank you so much for helping contribute to my education and my success as a future nurse.” — Danielle Arbios
Anna Grace Kitabjian, a second-year Advanced Practice student, is pursuing a dual degree as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and a Clinical Nurse Specialist. She currently works as an RN at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and spends her free time volunteering at the Painted Turtle Camp, the Special Olympics, and on medical mission trips to Honduras. Her goal is to be a PNP in pediatric orthopedics as well as a primary care PNP so she can work with children. Anna would also like to continue to teach pediatric clinical rotations, and would love to be a lecturer on pediatric nursing in the future.
“My parents could never afford to pay for their children to attend school, so all through my college career I have worked and applied for scholarships to help me pay for school. I cannot express how much I appreciate that I was chosen to receive the Grunigen Scholarship, which has allowed me to fully focus on learning rather than worrying about how to pay for my education. I never forget those who have helped me get to where I am, and hope to someday be able to provide scholarships such as this one because I know how precious it is to the recipient.” — Anna Kitabjian
Mae Khristine Ubaldo, a second-year dual pediatric Advanced Practice student, started her nursing career at Harbor UCLA Medical Center in the pediatric emergency room after receiving her associate’s degree in Nursing in 2011 at Los Angeles Harbor College and a BS in Nursing from University of Phoenix. She currently works as a RN at UCLA Medical Center Santa Monica in the emergency department, and was recently inducted into the nursing honor society Sigma Theta Tau, Gamma Tau Chapter at large. Mae loves the patient interactions that she has as an NP, and is an active participant in education, policy reform and quality improvement as a Clinical Nurse Specialist.
“I will forever be grateful for the scholarships I have been granted. You have no idea how much even a small amount helps to relieve the stress of paying tuition while paying rent or a mortgage. It is because of generous givers like Mrs. Grunigen that I am able to attend the school of my dreams and advance in this humbling profession. I fully intend to pay it forward by doing what I can to help others achieve their goals in life.” — Mae Khristine Ubaldo