Former Dundalkian wins major national scholarship
Wednesday, 07 August 2013 13:25

O’Brien is recent student at CCBC Dundalk

by Nicole Rodman

    You would be hard-pressed to find a professor who does not rave about Muneit O’Brien.
    A former Dundalk resident, O’Brien recently transferred from CCBC Dundalk to the nursing program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.
    While her professors have long admired her abilities, O’Brien is now receiving national recognition as winner of the prestigious 2013 Phi Theta Kappa Hites Transfer Scholarship.

    The largest honor society in higher education, Phi Theta Kappa is a very selective invitation-only organization open only to students earning above a 3.50 grade point average.
    Each year, the honor society awards the Hites Transfer Scholarship to outstanding members who transfer from a community college to a four-year college.   
    This year, just 10 students were selected from a pool of more than 2,300 applicants to receive a $7,500 scholarship.
    One of those students was Muniet O’Brien.
    A resident of Dundalk until late last month (she recently moved to Catonsville) O’Brien attended CCBC Dundalk from 2010 to 2012.
    During her time at CCBC, O’Brien took courses in biology, psychology and mathematics in preparation for becoming a nurse.
    This past spring, O’Brien transferred to the nursing program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.
    O’Brien, who spoke with The Eagle last week, said she chose the University of Maryland, Baltimore because its nursing school is ranked as one of the top 10 in the country.
    O’Brien aims to graduate from the University of Maryland in December 2014, after which she hopes to become a registered nurse in an intensive care unit or Shock Trauma at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
    She also plans to continue her education by entering the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program to become a nurse anesthetist or a neonatal nurse practitioner.
    She told The Eagle that her desire to go into nursing is all about a deep passion for serving others.
    “My love of helping people is first and foremost,” she said of her career plans.
    O’Brien, the daughter of an Ethiopian immigrant, hopes one day to use her nursing skills to help others around the globe.
    “I really hope to travel the world and help other destitute countries to find a better quality of health,” O’Brien explained.
    O’Brien will have help reaching these lofty goals with the aid of the Hites Transfer Scholarship.
    In order to be considered for the scholarship, O’Brien first had to be nominated by her CCBC Phi Theta Kappa advisor, Linda Gronberg-Quinn.
    According to Gronberg-Quinn, she nominated O’Brien because she fully embodies the principles of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society — scholarship, fellowship, service and leadership.
    Gronberg-Quinn described O’Brien as an outstanding student who works to serve others and mentors her fellow students.
    “Muneit is one of those students you wish you could clone, because she puts her all into whatever she does,” Gronberg-Quinn explained.
    Gronberg-Quinn recalled that when she was looking at nominees for the scholarship, O’Brien came immediately to mind.   
    Once she was nominated, O’Brien had to complete a lengthy application consisting of five essays as well as numerous letters of recommendation and transcripts from high school and college.
    A few weeks ago, O’Brien received the call that she was one of the 10 students selected for the national honor.
    “I was totally surprised and taken off guard,” she said of her reaction to the award.
    O’Brien credits her success to a number of people, including CCBC biology professor Dr. Robert Anson.
    “All of the knowledge he shared with me, he definitely prepared me more than any other professor,” O’Brien said of Anson.
    She also pointed to Gronberg-Quinn as well as CCBC Director of Honors Jay Trucker as influences.
    Of course, O’Brien is also grateful to her family for helping her get where she is today.
    “I would also like to credit my family for all of their love and support,” O’Brien noted. “Without them, I wouldn’t be the woman that I am today.”