Large Philadelphia-Area Employers Support Widener Students Through Scholarships

Zora DeSeignora ’23 Spanish and Communication Studies
Two nursing students doing a physical exam in the nursing simulation lab
Students at work in the School of Nursing's Center for Simulation.

Widener’s relationships with two major Philadelphia-area employers will help put students on the inside track to undergraduate degrees, thanks to unique and generous scholarship opportunities coming to the university. 

Two new grants from PECO Energy Company and Independence Blue Cross Foundation will provide financial support for students in the Schools of Business, Engineering, and Nursing. The grants will also help form pathways for students to participate in co-op and internship opportunities.

Under the first opportunity, PECO is providing $100,000 for Widener students over the next four years. This grant is intended to assist students from underrepresented backgrounds within business and engineering professions. Recipients must be in good academic standing and involved in volunteer activities and community service work.  In addition to receiving the financial assistance, recipients will also have an opportunity to apply for summer internships at PECO, an educationally enriching experience that will help them network and build skills for when they pursue permanent employment. 

PECO President and CEO Michael Innocenzo earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Widener. The university is grateful for the financial support PECO will provide the next generation of professionals through this grant.

“PECO is deeply community minded, and it shows through this generous scholarship funding, particularly as it is directed to students who have demonstrated a penchant for community service. The company’s support for students from underrepresented groups helps Widener reinforce the university’s commitment that students from all backgrounds are welcome and belong,” said Terry Travis, vice president for University Advancement. 

The second grant, from Independence Blue Cross Foundation, will benefit incoming first-year students in the School of Nursing. Offered through the foundation’s Healthcare Scholars program, the opportunity provides $30,000 to be distributed among multiple entering students in fall 2023 who are from underrepresented backgrounds and have an interest in nursing. Students receiving these scholarships will have additional mentorship and advising opportunities from faculty and staff within the School of Nursing upon their admission to the university. 

“We are grateful for the continued support from the Independence Blue Cross Foundation for nursing students at Widener,” Anne Krouse, dean of the School of Nursing, said. “This financial opportunity will enhance diversity in our classrooms and ultimately within the profession. We appreciate their partnership in our efforts to educate the next generation of nurses.”

This Healthcare Scholars Program is just one example of nursing’s ongoing commitment to diversifying the classroom and workforce. 

In 2021, the school secured another grant of more than $1.6 million from the Health Resources and Services Administration over four-years, to implement Project PRIDE: Preparing Registered Nurses Through Inclusivity, Diversity, and Empowerment. Now in its second year, Project PRIDE supports minority and socio-economically disadvantaged students with scholarships, stipends, and faculty, professional, and peer mentorship. 


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