Eileen Ridgway Outreach Scholarship

This scholarship supports leadership development in students by encouraging engagement in community outreach, service, and civic efforts.

Image of Dr. Eileen Ridgway who served as the dean of the Seattle University College of Nursing from 1968-1977

Established in May 1996, the Dr. Eileen Ridgway Endowed Nursing Scholarship aims to kindle and fuel leadership development by encouraging student development in community outreach, service, and civic efforts. Dr. Eileen Ridgway served as the dean of the Seattle University College of Nursing from 1968-1977.


Ridgway Scholarship Recipients

Daniela Acuna Aguirre said she chose to pursue her BSN at SU, “because it is a smaller program that focuses on the whole person. The transfer cohort is diverse and makes me feel like I belong and am supported by people that share similar experiences. Also, the professors and faculty are caring and make sure you feel supported.”

Daniela Acuna Aguirre, BSN '24, presenting her research project

In her Ridgway scholarship project, “Increasing Resource Access for Spanish-Speaking Houseless and/or Sex Worker Clients at Aurora Commons,” Acuna Aguirre addressed language barriers that exist for Spanish-speaking clients by identifying the most frequently needed documents, pamphlets and resources and translating them into Spanish.

“Thanks to this scholarship I have been able to give back to my community."

“Thanks to this scholarship I have been able to give back to my community. I'm volunteering in a homeless shelter where they need English to Spanish Medical Translation to offer better health care to homeless and sex workers at the Aurora Ave Commons,” said Acuna Aguirre.

She looks forward to receiving her BSN degree adding, “I'm an immigrant from Venezuela. I have been living in the states for 8 years. I'm the first person from my family to graduate in the USA.”

Acuna Aguirre plans to focus her nursing career on Women’s Health and improving access to health care for Spanish speakers.

Background:  Aurora Commons offers a dignified, safe, and welcoming space for unhoused people and sex workers who are involved in commercial sexual exploitation. The organization offers clients a place to rest, prepare a meal, receive access to health care, connect to resources, and collectively create a healthy and vibrant community.

With various programs and support, Aurora Commons is strong with resource bridging. Social workers link clients to various resources: ORCA card for transportation, overnight shelters, establish a social security card, job search, legal counsel, and mailing address and collection options. Aurora Commons also offers communication resources via telephones, computers, and internet access.

Their most important program is the SHE Clinic, made possible through a partnership with Harborview Medical Center. The clinic provides medical care to female-identified street-based sex workers and houseless females. This clinic is supported by the Department of Health, the City of Seattle, and the Pacific Hospital Preservation and Development Authority.

Project Overview and Goal: Aurora Commons offers a variety of resources and services, but a language barrier exists which creates a problem of increasing access to Spanish-speaking clients. When I started volunteering at Aurora Commons, I noticed a large Latino/Hispanic population that needed more help than other populations. This population needs translation from English to Spanish for most of their services. As Spanish is my native language and I have a background in medical terminologies, my volunteer work evolved to primarily translating for Spanish-speaking clients.

While Aurora Commons utilizes interpreters as much as possible, a stopgap measure to increase knowledge for Spanish-speaking clients is to translate as many available written resources. Having health pamphlets translated to Spanish is a necessity in shelters like Aurora Common where they have a big population of Spanish speakers. This project plans to translate as many documents as possible, especially the most frequently asked and used resources. 

Faculty Sponsor: Therry Eparwa, DNP, FNP-BC