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NMSU freshman nursing student wins national undergraduate scholarship

A New Mexico State University nursing student is the recipient of a $6,000 competitive undergraduate scholarship from the Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society.

Portrait of young woman
New Mexico State University nursing student Viridiana Arellano, of Vado, N.M., is the recipient of a $6,000 scholarship from the national Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society. (NMSU photo by Rosemary Woller)

Viridiana Arellano, a graduate of Gadsden High School in Anthony, N.M., is one of 64 members from across the United States who received a national scholarship through Phi Eta Sigma this year. Arellano is president of the honor society?s NMSU chapter.

?It felt surreal to compete at the national level and find out that I actually won,? Arellano said. ?I can?t thank those people that helped me enough, because I couldn?t have done it without them.?

Arellano said she plans to save the money to cover the cost of tuition once she is enrolled in nursing school. Currently, she is a level one nursing student at NMSU, pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.

Phi Eta Sigma faculty adviser Tim Ketelaar said Arellano has encountered obstacles and challenges that most of her peers have never faced, and has surmounted those challenges with dignity and class.

?She is a top student, a successful servant-leader and a great team member here at the Honors College,? Ketelaar said. ?This scholarship will help her to pursue her dream to travel the path from first generation college student to nurse practitioner.?

Arellano said she hopes her achievement inspires other people to join Phi Eta Sigma and apply for the scholarship award.

?Phi Eta Sigma teaches you to be not just a leader, but to reach out to the community, provide service and keep Las Cruces beautiful,? Arellano said. ?Beyond being honors students, being an active member in Phi Eta Sigma makes you a strong leader.?

Phi Eta Sigma is a national honor society for college freshmen that aims to encourage and reward academic excellence among first-year college students. The oldest and largest freshman honor society, Phi Eta Sigma was founded at the University of Illinois in 1923 and now has more than 370 chapters throughout the United States and more than a million inducted members.

?I hope Phi Eta Sigma at NMSU continues to grow,? Arellano said. ?I feel there are a lot of opportunities and resources to help students get a better education, and I would like to see a push for Phi Eta Sigma to become a bigger chapter and continue the legacy of success.?

For more information on Phi Eta Sigma or to join, contact Ketelaar at onsie@nmsu.edu or stop by the Conroy Honors Center, room 104.