Nursing Students Win Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Essay Contest

TEANECK, N.J. (April 18, 2011) — Two Fairleigh Dickinson University nursing students have won recognition in a national essay contest sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

Ariella Bleich and Ada Contreras are enrolled in FDU’s one-year accelerated nursing program at the Henry P. Becton School of Nursing and Allied Health and will receive their B.S. degrees in nursing in May. Bleich’s essay was picked in December 2010 and Contreras’ in January 2011 to be featured on the foundation’s website and used in its marketing materials.

The contest, which asks students to describe why they want to become a nurse, is open to recipients of the RWJF New Careers in Nursing scholarships. The $10,000 scholarships are awarded to students enrolled in accelerated baccalaureate and master’s nursing programs.

In her winning essay, Bleich wrote that nursing “has fueled my passion to help others.” Bleich, a resident of West Hempstead, N.Y., received her B.A. in biology from Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women in May 2010 and started at FDU the same week. While studying abroad in Israel during her freshman year in college, she trained and volunteered as a medical clown, helping adult and pediatric hospital patients through laughter therapy. Bleich also volunteered as a “big sister” and summer camp counselor for Chai Lifeline, which helps children fighting cancer and other chronic illnesses. When she graduates, Bleich hopes to work in a hospital, possibly in a labor and delivery unit or a pediatric oncology ward.

Contreras, from Atlantic City, N.J., wrote in her essay that nursing “is both an art and a science; nursing cannot have one without the other.” Contreras has a B.A. in hospitality management from Rutgers University. After working for a year at a casino in Atlantic City, Contreras decided to switch careers; she took an intensive semester of math and science prerequisites at a community college and then realized her dream by entering the one-year nursing program at the Becton School in 2010. As a recipient of an AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center Nursing Fellowship, she will work at AtlantiCare’s hospital in Atlantic City after graduation.

To read the winning essays, go to

For Immediate Release

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Melissa Payton

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