The Kyle O'Connell memorial scholarship was created in honor of Kyle O'Connell, the son of Michael '87 and Julie '88 (Belfiore) O'Connell. On February 6, 2005, Kyle passed away just shy of his 10th birthday. Kyle's brave fight against brain cancer inspired a group of USD alumni to create this scholarship. The purpose of this scholarship is to inspire students through Kyle's story of courage, determination and spirit to improve treatments or find a cure for cancer, to provide comfort and hope for patients and their families who are struggling with terminal illness and to be advocates motivating others to become active in the fight against cancer. It will benefit graduate and/or undergraduate junior or senior students enrolled in the sciences or healing arts including nursing, marriage and family therapy.
Continue the fight against cancer by supporting USD students through the Kyle O'Connell Memorial Scholarship.
Meet the USD Alumni Association Kyle O'Connell Scholars for 2015-2016:
Kerri Foster '16 (MEPN)
Kerri Foster is entering her second year as a nursing student in USD's Master's Entry Program in Nursing (MEPN). She is a member of the Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society of Nursing and is a mentor coordinator for the incoming MEPN class. She enjoys volunteering internationally and is involved with the Rosarito Beach Flying Samaritan Clinic and the Thousand Smiles Foundation in Ensenada. She would love to one day return to Rady Children's Hospital where her nursing experience began as a volunteer in the hematology/oncology clinic. After working in the field as an RN, she hopes to eventually return to school to get her PhD so that she can design and lead research studies that will aim to improve patient care, interventions, and treatments.
Kerri says, “I am honored and grateful to have been chosen as the recipient of Kyle O'Connell's Memorial Scholarship Fund, made possible through the generosity of USD alumni and donors. It means so much to me in being able to complete my graduate studies here at USD. I hope that my future work as a nurse honors Kyle's memory and the fight against cancer and terminal illness in a meaningful way. Receiving this scholarship is only the beginning as I embark upon this journey as a patient advocate.
Hunter Jameson '16
Hunter Jameson is a Finance major with Political Science minor at USD. He is an active member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity and USD Ambassadors. Hunter has been the Sports Editor for The Vista over the past two years, and will serve as Editor-in-Chief next year. He is a sports fanatic and hopes to one day work in the sports industry. Hunter has started a non-profit foundation in 2013 called Hunter's Hope International Foundation that benefits pediatric oncology patients. After surviving his own battle with Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma at age 8, he decided to help support other children and their families going through similar battles. He has since given over 40 grants totaling over $25,000 to children at Valley Children's Hospital in Fresno, CA, where he was treated.
Hunter says, "I feel honored and blessed to receive the Kyle O'Connell Memorial Scholarship. Thank you so much to all of the donors that contribute to this scholarship. Kyle's determination is very admirable and deserves to be recognized. He is an inspiration to USD students and anyone who has been affected by cancer. This means so much to me because battle with cancer really shaped who I am today. There are so many people who are affected by this awful disease, but there is also so much that can be done to motivate patients, families, and friends to keep fighting. I strive to be a positive light to patients who need comfort and support, and Hunter's Hope is a perfect way for me to give back for all of the encouragement I received during my own fight."
Diane Solic '16 (DNP)
The DNP program at USD has been rewarding and challenging. Diane currently works fulltime in patient care in a variety of settings in North County San Diego. She is also on the board of Advisors of “Picture of Health” to apply for a RWJF grant to improve the lives of Cancer survivors. Diane has multiple opportunities to work in Primary and Specialty care service in North County San Diego.
She is a 10 year 3 time cancer survivor, married for over 22 years, and lives in North County.
Diane says, “Thank you to the USD alumni and donors and especially the family and friends of Kyle O’Connell. I feel very blessed to receive the generous donation. The donation affords the opportunity to continue my course work with less financial burden.”