New Scholarship at Iowa Lakes Offered to Nursing Students

Betty and her mom

(Estherville, Iowa) Author Mary McSwain Steele of Spencer has donated proceeds from her book, “Betty: A Memoir,” to provide a new scholarship to Iowa Lakes Community College students in the Nursing program.

“My husband Steve and I are pleased to extend the Betty McSwain Nursing Scholarship to students enrolled in the Iowa Lakes Nursing program. My mom raised three children by herself, struggling to secure a future for them without losing herself. She accomplished this because of her nursing degree, which she greatly valued,” shared Steele.

The first award from the Betty McSwain Nursing Scholarship will be $500 for the Spring 2023 semester. The scholarship recipient must be a full-time student in the Iowa Lakes Nursing program with a 3.0 GPA and show financial need based on a completed FAFSA.

The Betty McSwain Nursing Scholarship at Iowa Lakes is the third scholarship funded through proceeds from the sales of “Betty: A Memoir.” In addition to the scholarship at Iowa Lakes, scholarships at Spencer High School and Kickapoo High School in Southwest Wisconsin, where Steele and her mother were born and raised, have also been established.

Steele, a former award-winning writer for the Spencer Daily Reporter, wrote “Betty: A Memoir” to help cope with her grief and pay homage to her mother, who raised three children alone through adversity and poverty.

After her children were grown, Betty obtained a nursing position in Saudi Arabia, fulfilling her dreams of traveling. Her nursing skills helped provide her with the opportunity to see the world.

When she retired, Betty chose to live in Spencer to be near her two daughters, but her happy and active retirement was interrupted by her son’s death from AIDS and her own terminal cancer diagnosis.

Steele learned a great deal about her mother while she and her sister lovingly cared for her during her last 32 days of life. Steele says her grief lasted longer than anticipated, so she started writing as her therapy. Her thoughts evolved into the book that now allows her to help others through scholarships.

“Using the proceeds from sales of Mom’s story for nursing scholarships seemed like a natural way to honor her memory. We hope to continue these scholarships far into the future. And, as a 28-year employee of Iowa Lakes, I have witnessed and appreciate the value Iowa Lakes adds to communities in Northwest Iowa,” explained Steele.

Any questions may be directed to the Iowa Lakes Community College Institutional Advancement Office at 712-362-0491 or 800-242-5106 ext. 4491.