Columbus, Miss.— Tristan Whalen has led projects and served communities from Kenya to Mexico. His desire to help others recently earned him recognition by a statewide organization.

 The Marks native was recently awarded the Bobbie Anderson Scholarship from the Mississippi Organization for Associate Degree Nursing Students (MOADN). The scholarship was established for the purpose of recognizing a deserving student who demonstrates leadership, a caring and professional spirit and commitment to community service. 

“It was awesome! I was not expecting to receive it. It’s an honor to represent the university,” said Whalen about receiving the scholarship.

Whalen attributes his passion for serving others to growing up in a small, underserved community. His decision to go into nursing was discovered after his role model passed away.

“My mother was a great nurse. I looked up to how she helped people,” said Whalen. “When she passed, I knew I wanted to be a nurse too.”

In his scholarship recommendation letter, W faculty member Pamela Thomas described Whalen as honest, hardworking, and dependable, adding that his desire in life has always been to help others in need and that there are unlimited opportunities to do that in the field of nursing.

During the summer of 2016, Whalen coordinated the set-up of more than 70 mission sites across the United States. He connected communities, established teams and organized construction projects. During the Christmas break of 2016, he traveled to Nairobi, Kenya, to assist in the feeding of 90 families as well as a children’s orphanage. Whalen also supplied food and life essential items to families in Matamoros, Mexico, in early 2016.

While only in his first year of the ASN program at The W, Whalen would like to continue traveling to third-world countries for medical missions when he graduates.

“We have so much. We can help others have a more comfortable life,” said Whalen.

The $500 scholarship was awarded to Whalen at the annual MOADN convention at the Bancorp South Arena on April 6, 2017.