Scholarships a ‘lifeline’ for nurse pursuing advanced degree

Melissa Varner
August 23, 2023
Mother and son, both nurses wearing scrubs, pose for a photo in a hospital. Both have big smiles.
Kamron Redding with his mother, Donna Redding.

When he was 10 years old, Kamron Redding thought he wanted to be a lawyer. Then he saw his mom in action.

“My mother brought me to work with her at the hospital,” Kamron said. “I saw her save a lady's life right in front of me and then ask what I wanted for lunch. It was so routine for her as a registered nurse. Ever since then, I started chasing nursing.”

Kamron is a third-generation registered nurse, following in his mother and grandmother’s footsteps. For nearly a decade, he and his mother even worked the same shift, although different units, at MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC.

Kamron worked in cardiovascular intensive care, which he says transitioned to a COVID intensive care unit (ICU) during the pandemic.

“I had to lean on my faith a lot more than I had in any other season of my life because the things I would see on a regular basis were so horrid,” Kamron said. “I was also afraid of getting sick or getting one of my family members sick because I worked personally with the most critically ill COVID patients.”

Kamron says the pandemic honed his perseverance and resilience skills. Now he’s applying those skills to advancing his career. He wants to be a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), who administers anesthesia during procedures or surgery.

A man in a blue suit smiles for the camera.  
Karmon Redding.

In March 2022, he moved away from his family in Germantown, Maryland, and headed south to pursue a Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice - Post Baccalaureate degree at the MUSC College of Health Professions in Charleston, South Carolina. The intensive three-year program is nationally ranked as one of the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

“Getting a doctoral degree is very challenging – financially, physically, mentally and emotionally,” Kamron explains. Even more so because students are not allowed to work during the program. Without a paycheck, Kamron must depend on a student loan disbursement to help cover his living expenses each semester.

“It's supposed to include your rent, which for me is $1,793 every month,” Kamron said. “Then there’s groceries, schoolbooks, gas for your car. Nothing extravagant – just what it costs to be an adult with multiple bills. Respectfully, the disbursement does not cover all your expenses.”

Kamron says his only option when the disbursement runs out is to add those expenses to his credit card. “You're seeing your credit card go up and up and up. And you're not allowed to work for school. Coming out of school with $300,000 in student loans and then $50,000 credit card debt – that's dangerous.”

He says scholarships are a “lifeline.”

“It helps me out right away because I don’t have to use my credit card and rack up more debt,” Kamron said. “It helps me live.”

In fall of 2022, Kamron got a lifeline from MUSC alumna Deborah A. Geisler. She established a scholarship for first and second-year Anesthesia for Nurses (AFN) students to nurture leadership and encourage students to give back to their profession.

As a student, Kamron gives back as a volunteer on the student recruitment team.

“I'm one of the first faces they see,” he said. “It helps when students of color, minorities or students of different backgrounds can see someone who looks like them, because then maybe they can see themselves in a particular place. In other words, representation matters.”

After graduation, the sky’s the limit. “I love serving and giving back but I know there are a million ways I could do that. But with anesthesia, this is the way that God has opened doors for me to serve.”

Kamron says he’s “extremely grateful” for scholarship donors and encourages his fellow scholarship recipients to pay it forward. “Create a positive snowball effect for service. MUSC’s motto is Auget Largiendo, which means, ‘She, the university, enriches by giving generously.’

“I want to continue to embody that as a student, and one day embody that as an alumnus,” Kamron said. “But I'm also grateful that people are already embodying that and helping me out.”