Michelle Haleck, BSN, RN, RDMeme's Gift

Alumna's Scholarship Honors Grandmother; Helps Parents Pursuing Their Nursing Degrees

Something for Her

She’s washing bottles and breast pump equipment at 2 o’clock in the morning. Standing at the sink wondering when it’s her turn to do something.

Something for her. Something for others. Something meaningful with great purpose.

Not that raising children isn’t the greatest job on Earth, but when you’re in the thick of it, married to an Air Force pilot, sometimes you just want something for you.

“It’d been about five years since we’d been married, and I just vividly remember thinking, ‘When is it going to be my turn?’” said Michelle Haleck, BSN, RN, RD, (Nursing ’16). “I just remember trusting in God and his timing, telling me, ‘Just wait, it will happen.’

When the opportunity arose, it was perfect; and by perfect, I mean our youngest was 5 months old, and our oldest was 3 years—I actually counted it up and for about four years I didn’t sleep more than four hours straight a night!”


Something Inspirational

Parenting little children is hard enough, so it had to be something incredible to inspire Haleck to obtain a nursing career during such a crazy phase of her life. Turns out, it was.

“I always wanted to be a nurse because I always admired them, especially my Meme,” she said. “My Meme—my dad’s mom—was a wife and mother, first, who became a nurse later in life. She was always the ‘family nurse’ even well after she’d retired. She encouraged me to pursue my nursing degree. I thought, ‘If she can do it, raising four children, then surely I can.’ And being a nurse in her day was a lot harder nursing memorabiliawith the starched white uniform that had to be in the same pristine condition when you left as when you arrived. She once told me that if her shoelaces had been dirty, they would have sent her home.”

Already a registered dietician, Haleck decided to look into nursing programs. Her husband flew B-1 bomber aircrafts, which meant being stationed at one of only two bases in the U.S.: Rapids City, South Dakota, or Abilene, Texas.

“The (Accelerated) Second Degree (BSN) nursing program in Abilene (at TTUHSC) was an incredible experience,” Haleck said. “I thought that I had met the strongest people I would ever know through my husband serving in the military, but I was humbled by the amazing students in my class. They blew me away with their dedication and drive and determination to achieve their goals. Some of my classmates were single moms, and I know they struggled with so many challenges. I had support from both mine and my husband’s family and the military that many in my class didn’t have access to.”

Haleck said the nursing program involved 900 clinical hours in close to a year.

“I did 80-hour weeks for 10 and a half months. I still grocery shopped and cooked dinner and took care of my family, working my shifts at night while my babies were sleeping, and I wasn’t the only one going The Halecksthrough these challenges.”


Something for Others

Haleck made it through the program, wearing her Meme’s nursing pin during her own pinning ceremony. While planning how she would honor her grandmother this year—she and her sister do something every year on the anniversary of their Meme’s death—Haleck came up with an idea.

“I talked to my husband and told him I would like to set up a scholarship for parents who are enrolled in the second-degree nursing program in Abilene,” she said. “My husband and I are not ‘high-rollers,’ we are savers and planners, and we will never have a building named after us. However, sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. A $500 scholarship for a parent in school might mean being able to afford child care for 12 hours so he or she can study, and then they pass their exams and get to sit for their NCLEX.

“This trickles down to them getting to support their family and pursue a career that they really find passion in, and those 12 hours of child care might mean the difference between passing and failing. Or it might mean having the extra $100 to be able to send your kid on their field trip, which is a big thing to parents who are working so hard and trying to balance life and motherhood or fatherhood.”

Haleck added that it wasn’t uncommon to have to spend money on various study aids during the semester. An $80 app that you use only two to three times might still make the difference between passing and failing the class.

These thoughts led her to set up the “Peggy ‘Meme’ Collins Second-Degree BSN Scholarship.” She named it after her Meme who worked through the challenges and became a nurse while her oldest child was 14 and her youngest was 9.  

“I wasn’t sure if it was appropriate to put ‘Meme’ in the scholarship name, but that’s how everyone knew her,” she added. “So when I asked (the gift officer) what he thought, he said it absolutely should be in there because ‘Meme’ is who she was.”

Meme passed away in 2013, but her drive and dedication for her family lives on in her granddaughter and in the many fathers and mothers who are putting in 80 hours a week pursuing career goals and dreams for themselves, their children and their children’s children.

texas tech university health sciences center
3601 fourth street STOP 6238
Lubbock, TX 79430-6238

(806) 743-2786
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