New scholarship a “game-changer” for nursing student

Mia Malandruccolo ’21, left, inaugural recipient of the Nelson S. and Leona C. Fiske Decker School of Nursing Scholarship, with donor Leona C. Fiske at Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences' new home in Johnson City. Image Credit: Jonathan Cohen.
Mia Malandruccolo ’21, left, inaugural recipient of the Nelson S. and Leona C. Fiske Decker School of Nursing Scholarship, with donor Leona C. Fiske at Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences' new home in Johnson City.
Mia Malandruccolo ’21, left, inaugural recipient of the Nelson S. and Leona C. Fiske Decker School of Nursing Scholarship, with donor Leona C. Fiske at Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences' new home in Johnson City. Photography: Jonathan Cohen.

Mia Malandruccolo ’21, inaugural recipient of the Nelson S. and Leona C. Fiske Decker School of Nursing Scholarship, described the donor support she’s received as “a game-changer.”

“I am honored and beyond appreciative,” she said. “This donation has had an incredible impact on my life.”

The world needs great nurses, scholarship donor Leona C. Fiske has said. She’s helping fill that need with her seven-figure commitment to establish the scholarship named after her late husband and her.

The scholarship covers up to four years of the total cost of education for the recipient, a student enrolled in Binghamton University’s Bachelor of Science in nursing program who has excellent grades and demonstrated financial need.

Fiske and Malandruccolo met for the first time Oct. 30, at the future home of Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences at 48 Corliss Ave. in Johnson City. Fiske said Malandruccolo is exactly the type of student she hoped would receive the scholarship.

To supplement her clinical learning experiences at the University, Malandruccolo is a patient care technician on a telemetry floor at Ascension Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton.

She was also a student nurse extern this past summer at NYU Langone Hospital in New York City, working as part of a medical surgical unit that was converted to a COVID-19 floor.

“This incredible experience and opportunity have allowed me to work on critical components of my nursing practice including head-to-toe assessments; communication with patients, doctors, nurses and other staff; prioritization of patient care; and much more,” Malandruccolo said. “Being a nursing student during a pandemic has been an incredibly unique, yet stressful experience. This award has been immensely helpful in reducing the financial stress of this year.”

Malandruccolo’s passion for nursing has flourished during her time at Binghamton, but it began when her mother was hospitalized in 2010.

“The compassion that her nurses showed to not only her, but my father, brothers and myself was life changing,” Malandruccolo said. “They were overwhelmingly supportive of our needs and emotions. I want to have the same effect on someone else’s family members and make sure they know they are heard and understood.”

After graduation in May 2021, Malandruccolo plans to return to NYU Langone as a medical-surgical nurse on the unit where she spent the past summer. After a few years, she may transition to critical care in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or work as a nurse in an emergency trauma center.

“Once I have more experience, I hope to be a clinical instructor as well because I have built incredible bonds of support with mine and want to provide that same support to a new generation of nurses,” she said.

Malandruccolo also wants to follow in Fiske’s philanthropic footsteps after seeing how happy Fiske was to meet her.

“Ms. Fiske’s generosity will be life-changing for the students who receive her scholarship, and it demonstrates the tremendous value she places on the impact of a Decker School of Nursing education,” Decker College Dean Mario Ortiz said. “We truly appreciate her support.”

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