Meet our 2018-19 scholars!


2018-19 Scholarship Recipients

We are proud to recognize Jane Nwankwookoye, Vincent Otundo, and Zion Shekinah as the 2018-19 Lois Price Spratlen Foundation scholarship recipients.


Jane Nwankwookoye maintains a 3.86 grade point average in the University of Washington’s Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program.

Jane points to a particular moment which sparked her passion to help others. During an intake behavioral health assessment, a 30-year-old male patient related that his life changed when his wife left with their young son. A spiral of depression, alcohol, job loss, homelessness, and suicide attempts ensued.

Jane saw the needs in her community and she responded, as an advocate, a volunteer, and a professional.

UW Clinical Instructor Kathy Kroening wrote the following in support of Jane: “Jane has pushed herself to go beyond learning basic skills and seeks knowledge of more advanced and sophisticated treatment modalities. She has an excellent understanding of how social, cultural, economic and political factors affect access to health and mental health care leading to tremendous insight on her part about the provision of appropriate health care to immigrant and refugee populations. I have thoroughly enjoyed my ongoing relationship with Jane as a student and now as a colleague.”

With her doctoral project, an integration of PMHNP into Behavioral Health System at Country Doctor Community Health Centers and Carolyn Downs Family Medical Center, Jane’s hope is to educate, empower and create more awareness that will help normalize mental health and reduce the shame and stigma.


Vincent Otundo’s path has not been an easy one. He came to the United States right after high school. Soon afterward, his father passed away, leaving Vincent alone in a new country.

Over time, he found work, went back to school, and now maintains a 3.8 grade point average in the Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing DNP program at Seattle University.

Vincent’s responsibilities range far beyond the classroom, extending back to his homeland in Kenya. He works to pay the tuitions of his sister and brother, as well as to financially support his mother.

Janiece DeSocio, Seattle University Professor of Nursing, wrote the following in support of Vincent. “Vincent’s personal journey speaks to his abilities and determination in overcoming significant challenges. He experienced obstacles that would have deterred many young people, but Vincent overcame these obstacles through patience, tenacity, and personal sacrifice. He is a dedicated student with great enthusiasm and capacity for learning.”

Vincent has drawn upon his experiences in his academic work. His scholarly project focuses on the critical need for culturally-relevant mental health services for immigrant populations; a need that continues to grow in our region.

Perhaps Vincent himself best summarizes his path when he writes: “My journey through college and my career as a mental health nurse continues to be very uplifting. Though at times challenging, my personal fulfillment is beyond measure.”

Zion Shekinah has dedicated her life to justice and equality through global advocacy for human rights. She served as an invited speaker at the United Nations Anti-Human Trafficking Conference. She also served as a consultant for child soldier-related issues for an international committee. In addition, she worked as a Hospital Administrator in Uganda.

Academically, Zion maintains a 3.95 grade point average in the University of Washington’s Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program.

She currently works at the Downtown Emergency Service Center Inpatient Crisis Solutions Center in Seattle. In supporting her, University of Washington Assistant Professor Jean Tang wrote the following about Zion’s experience:

“Zion works tirelessly to connect her clients with available services such as medical care, social work services, pharmacy, and housing. She organized fund raising to support her clients who cannot afford needed medication. She is passionate about advocating for people and their families who are impacted by mental disorders.”

Zion’s educational goal is to implement a research project on the elevated risk of metabolic syndrome in persons taking atypical antipsychotics and how it contributes to an increase in health risks. Her goal is to create patient-centered, customizable interventions for treatment plans.

Jean Tang summarized Zion’s impact by saying: “Her work exemplifies the Lois Price Spratlen Foundation mission in promoting a community of caring. Her prior and current work demonstrates her commitment and leadership in mental health.”

ScholarshipsChris Crosser