Kelly Bracken: Mother at 17, Nurse at 28


Kelly Bracken
Kelly Bracken

The Charlotte W. Newcombe Scholarship is making Kelly Bracken’s dream of becoming a nurse a reality. The 28-year-old nursing student from Aston, PA, is set to graduate in May 2013 with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. Her future plans include working with HIV patients at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital.


As a young, single mother, Bracken set some relatively high goals for herself. Over the course of approximately nine years, she has been able to meet those goals. After the birth of her son when she was 17 years old, Bracken took her GED and passed. Soon after, she enrolled in her local community college while working a full-time job.


“It was difficult to balance a life of single parenthood, full-time work, and continuing education, but I endured,” she said.


In 2003, Bracken was working as an administrative assistant at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. She worked in the Aids Clinical Trials Unit and it was there that she found her calling to become a nurse.


“The unselfish work of the doctors and particularly the research nurses touched me. There was a true need for empathy and a need to care just for the sake of caring,” Bracken said.


Although she was nervous about starting a new journey, Bracken headed back to school to become a nurse. She started with one summer class at her local community college and received an A.


“I decided to apply to Neumann which was my first choice for nursing because it is known as having one of the best nursing programs in our region,” she said.


Today Bracken continues to juggle her responsibilities. Her son is now 10 years old and she has a loving and supportive husband. She hopes to have another child in the very near future.


“I have devoted my life both to working to better myself and to improving civilization as a whole. Throughout the rest of my life, I hope to continue in this same manner of unselfish work.”



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