Reynolds Predoctoral Scholarship Program Application Overview

The OU College of Nursing Donald W. Reynolds Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence seeks applicants for its Reynolds Predoctoral Scholarship Program. This 2-year scholarship program supports full time PhD education for nurses committed to careers in academic geriatric nursing. Through generous funding from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, the Center awards a total of $100,000 ($50,000 per year for two years) to each selected Predoctoral Scholar awardee. Scholarship Awards begin in August of the award year. Awardees are designated Reynolds Scholars. 


Applicants must:

  • be registered nurses,
  • hold degree(s) in nursing,
  • be United States citizens,
  • plan an academic and research career, AND
  • be committed to and demonstrate potential for long-term contributions to geriatric nursing.

Reynolds Scholarship applicants must meet all requirements for admission to the University of Oklahoma School of Nursing PhD program and be accepted to the program prior to the official start of the Reynolds award term. The selected Reynolds Scholars are required to enroll full-time, focus research and dissertation in an area within the Center’s community-based aging in place focus, and work in an academic faculty position in baccalaureate or graduate nursing programs within the state of Oklahoma for two years upon graduation.

The program is committed to advancing well-qualified applicants from underrepresented minority groups to improve the state and nation’s ability to provide culturally competent care to its increasingly diverse aging population.

Mentorship is the cornerstone of the Reynolds Scholarship Program. Applicants must identify a mentor within the OU College of Nursing Reynolds Center whose program of research in gerontological nursing is a good match with the applicant’s research interest area and who will be the primary mentor for the grant term. Mentors must provide a letter outlining the plan for their work with the applicant.

Program Description

Overview. The goal of the Reynolds Scholarship program is to increase academic geriatric nursing capacity in Oklahoma. Scholars, in collaboration with their mentor, will design and implement a tailored professional development plan, to be completed during the two year award, which supports development of new competencies and enhanced effectiveness as an academic leader. The Program focuses on the development of academic leadership in gerontological nursing through:

  • strong mentorship in the components of academic geriatric nursing (research, teaching and service),
  • leadership development,
  • a national network of scholars, fellows and academic geriatric nurses, and
  • exposure to a wide range of experts in gerontology and geriatrics.

Institution. The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation funds the OU Reynolds Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence (RCGNE) located at the University of Oklahoma College of Nursing. The Center demonstrates the highest level of commitment to gerontological nursing, and has strong leadership and capacity in gerontological research, practice and education. The OU Reynolds Center is included, with nine Hartford Centers of Geriatric Nursing Excellence, among the network of 10 Centers of Geriatric Nursing Excellence across the nation. The College of Nursing and the Reynolds Center promote interdisciplinary collaboration in research and scholarship and have exemplars in cancer care, diabetes self care, geriatric distance care technology, family caregiving, mental health, and symptom management in older adults. Additional resources are available within the OU system and through linkages with geriatric-focused organizations statewide and nationally.

Support. A total of $100,000 is awarded to each selected Scholar for the two-year award. Each year the Reynolds Predoctoral Scholarship Award offers each candidate up to a total of $50,000 to support tuition, academic fees, books and supplies necessary for doctoral study, membership in professional organizations and attendance at national conferences and institutes relevant to academic geriatric nursing, and a stipend (the stipend may not exceed $30,000 per year). Each grant year total may not exceed $50,000. 


If Selected, Scholars must:

  • Assume and maintain full-time student status in the OUCN PhD in Nursing program throughout the award period; eliminate or reduce paid work commitments to .5FTE (half- time) or less
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress
  • Participate in the mentored curricular enhancement in geriatrics, including the New Reynolds Scholars orientation program
  • Identify a research topic and focus research and dissertation in an area within the Center’s community-based aging in place emphasis. If the applicant is a newly entering doctoral student, the gerontological research project to be undertaken as the doctoral dissertation must be identified by the beginning of the second year of funding. In the case of applicants already enrolled, the research topic must be identified in the application.
  • Attend the Gerontological Society of America’s (GSA) conference activities. (Mentors are encouraged to attend)
  • Work in an academic faculty position in baccalaureate or graduate nursing programs within the state of Oklahoma for two years upon graduation.

Criteria Considered in Selection of Scholars

Strong applications will demonstrate all of the following.


  • Evidence of commitment to a career in academic gerontological nursing
  • Potential to contribute to the knowledge base in gerontological nursing in significant ways over time
  • Leadership potential
  • Evidence of involvement in educational, research and professional activities

Proposed Professional Development Plan and Research Area

  • The clarity and thoroughness of the proposed professional development plan tailored to meet the goals of the potential scholar within the 24 month award timeline
  • Significance of the study area and proposed research to improving the health and well-being of older adults and their caregivers within a community-based aging in place model of care
  • The quality, feasibility and innovativeness of the proposed research area if the applicant is far enough along in his or her doctoral program to include a description of the proposed research

Selected Mentor

  • The qualifications of the faculty mentor and evidence of the mentor’s commitment to and involvement with the applicant’s professional development and activities throughout the two year award program.
  • The mentor’s agreement to participate in the annual Gerontological Society of America (GSA) conference when possible. 

Commitment to Full-time Study

  • The ability of the Scholar to devote full time (minimum of 40 hours/week) to their professional development plan and research.
  • If the applicant is employed and plans to continue employment during the scholarship period, a letter from their employer indicating how the applicant’s workload will be reduced to .5FTE or less to permit full time study.

Monitoring and Evaluation

The Reynolds Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence includes ongoing administrative support as well as oversight. The following policies will be distributed to Reynolds Scholars awardees.

  • Program Policies and Reporting Procedures
  • Disbursement Policy
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