Pair Of GTCC Nursing Students Take Advantage of GEER Funds To Keep Dreams Of Nursing Career Alive

Published on: August 4, 2021
GTCC Students Katherine Tran and Elaina Fowler take advantage of GEER funding to help complete first step of nursing career.

Katherine Tran and Elaina Fowler are working to become nurses; it’s something they are driven to do.

They are taking different paths, but those paths lead through Guilford Technical Community College on the way to a career in nursing.

Fowler graduated from the University of North Carolina Greensboro last spring with a degree in kinesiology. Immediately upon graduation, she enrolled in GTCC’s certified nursing assistant’s program.

Tran has been in GTCC’s general education program for two years but is now in the CNA program, also.

The one thing the two future nurses share on their journey is the support of the North Carolina Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) fund. The GEER fund is a federally funded program that aims to help school districts and postsecondary institutions address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The (GEER) scholarship has helped me pay for classes and the supplies to do this. It’s helped a lot of students,” said Tran, who grew up in High Point and graduated from Trinity High School in 2019. “Without it I would have to say I would not have been able to pay for the tests that are required when I finish.”

Tran will soon complete GTCC’s CNA program and enroll in the school’s nursing program. This time a year ago, she wasn’t exactly sure what the future held as she wound down GTCC’s general education curriculum. But then inspiration hit.

“During COVID I was inspired by all the frontline workers who were risking their lives to help others,” said Tran, who needed to take the CNA program before enrolling in the nursing curriculum. “I want to be able to connect and advocate for patients during their most vulnerable times. Nurses are so important to the healthcare field, and they have a tremendous impact on patients’ lives.”

Fowler has aspired to be a nurse since she was a child. That was her goal when she entered UNCG, but she changed directions.

“I was super intimidated by their (pre-nursing) program. They basically told us there would be 300 applicants and only a few are accepted into the nursing program. I decided to take a different route in the medical field,” said Fowler, who majored in kinesiology. “But I gravitated more toward a hospital setting than a sports or athletic training setting.”

That’s why she decided her best move was to enroll in GTCC’s CNA program.

“I wanted to get my CNA this summer so I can work in a hospital. Then I will be able to get into an accelerated nursing program,” said Fowler, a High Point native.

“GTCC was a good choice for me. I have many friends there and they had a great experience,” said Fowler. “This (CNA) certification will help me. It’s step one on the course toward nursing for me.”

The GEER funding has been vital for Fowler, too. Prior to the pandemic, she worked three jobs while taking a full class load. The pandemic curtailed almost all her work hours. She now works 20 hours a week while taking classes four days.

“(GEER) has helped tremendously. COVID certainly inhibited my working time, and with loans for a four-year degree, it has been a strain,” said Fowler. “Getting accepted into the GEER program was big. That money is going to be a huge help.”

For more information on obtaining GEER funding visit,



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