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Thomas Scharibone, BSN '16

Thomas Scharibone learned more than he expected while a student in the University’s Accelerated 2nd Degree BSN Program (Program).

“As a student in the accelerated nursing program, we were exposed to many positive, hands-on learning experiences that contributed to the vigor of our curriculum,” Scharibone explained. “It was during our course work one day that I discovered my own heart murmur, a diagnosis that had otherwise gone unnoticed until I’d listened to my own heart beat.”

It was this incident and many others that shaped Scharibone’s experience in the Program, reaffirming his motivation to become a nurse.

Before entering the Program, Scharibone devoted his career to being an elementary school music teacher, working with children for 16 years before deciding a career change was in order.

“I’ve always found a correlation between compassion and the nursing profession, so I felt the field was a natural fit for me,” he said. “Having worked with children for so many years, and holding my sister who is also a nurse, as an inspiration, the transition seemed natural.”

When researching his options, Thomas Edison State University’s Accelerated Program was prevalent on his radar.

“I was drawn to the idea of being surrounded by peers who shared similar life experience as me and wanted to enroll in a program that focused on adult learners,” said Scharibone. “The Program was also the most affordable in the state of New Jersey and offered the highest potential for scholarship support as well as the shortest time-to-completion, at 12 months.”

 It was that same scholarship support that Scharibone credits with giving him the motivation he needed to finish. While a student in the Program, Scharibone was awarded the Helene Fuld Health Trust scholarship, which granted him additional financial assistance that would otherwise be hard to come by. Because he already possessed an undergraduate degree, Scharibone’s eligibility for many federal loan programs, including Pell grants, was eliminated.

The Helene Fuld Health Trust Scholarship Fund, established in 2014 by a grant from the Helene Fuld Health Trust, provides financial aid to students enrolled in the Accelerated 2nd Degree BSN Program in the W. Cary Edwards School of Nursing at the University. Awards are largely based on academic performance and demonstrated financial need of applicants.

“The Helene Fuld Health Trust Scholarship allowed me to complete the program and not have to worry about additional financial burdens,” he explained. “At the time, we were not permitted to hold outside employment while in the Program, so every ounce of support was appreciated.”

Scharibone lives in Toms River, N.J., with his wife. He is an intensive care unit (ICU) nurse at Community Medical Center in Toms River.