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The Reynolds Center of Geriatric Nursing at the Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing, seeks applicants for the Reynolds Predoctoral Scholarship award. Led by Dr. Lazelle Benefield, the Center was established in 2008 with the generous financial support of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation as a means to increase the number of PhD adult/gerontology prepared nurses and improve the health of older persons and their caregivers. The Reynold Center is the first and only nursing initiative funded by the Reynolds Foundation.

The Reynolds Scholarship award is designed to support three years of full-time doctoral work for nurses committed to careers in academic or clinical geriatric nursing. The program awards a total of $150,000 (up to $50,000 per annum) to each selected Reynolds Scholar candidate enrolled full-time in the PhD in nursing program at the College of Nursing.

For more information about the scholarship, contact Denise Short at 405-271-1491 ext. 49233 or via email at

Scholarship Overview

The College of Nursing Donald W. Reynolds Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence seeks applicants for its Reynolds Predoctoral Scholarship Program. This 3-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 $150,000 ($50,000 per year for three 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 adult/gerontology as academic faculty in an accredited baccalaureate or graduate nursing program or in a leadership position in clinical or policy settings within the United States 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.


The goal of the Reynolds Scholarship program is to increase academic geriatric nursing capacity in Oklahoma and beyond. Scholars, in collaboration with their mentor, will design and implement a tailored professional development plan, to be completed during the three year award, which supports development of new competencies and enhanced effectiveness as a gerontology 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.

 The Center demonstrates the highest level of commitment to gerontological nursing, and has strong leadership and capacity in gerontological research, practice and education. The College of Nursing and the Reynolds Center promote interdisciplinary collaboration in research and scholarship and have exemplars in cancer care, diabetes, 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 up to $150,000 is awarded to each selected Scholar for the three-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. Each grant year total may not exceed $50,000. 


If Selected, Scholars must:

  • Assume and maintain full-time student status in a 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.
  • Work in adult/gerontology as academic faculty position in baccalaureate or graduate nursing programs, or in a leadership position in clinical or policy settings within the United States for two years upon graduation.


Strong applications will demonstrate all of the following. 


  • Evidence of commitment to a career in academic faculty positions in baccalaureate or graduate nursing programs, or a leadership position in clinical or policy settings
  • Potential to contribute to the knowledge base in gerontological nursing in significant ways over time
  • Leadership potential
  • Evidence of involvement in education, 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 36 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.


March 1st
Applications due.

Any application received after March 1st will be reviewed on a rolling basis in the order received, once the PhD application has been submitted and applicant has been admitted to the PhD program

April 15th
Reynolds Scholars Selection Committee reviews all completed applications submitted by the stated deadline then selects candidates for the Award. All applicants are advised of funding decisions as soon as feasible. 

August 1st
Award program officially begins.


Please first check our list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). If you need further clarification or have additional questions, please contact Dr. Denise Short, Program Administrator, or Dr. Lazelle Benefield, Director at the Reynolds Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence. 


Applicant Instructions

Donald. W. Reynolds Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence 
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
1100 N. Stonewall Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK 73117
Att: Program Director 

  1. Read through all supplementary material (Overview, FAQs, Checklist, Reynolds Scholarship: Mentors Research Focus) prior to beginning the application process. Contact the Reynolds Center if you have questions: 

    405-271-1491, ext. 49233 

  2. Seek out an OU Reynolds Scholarship mentor as a primary step in developing this application. This should be done as soon as you determine interest in the Reynolds Predoctoral scholarship. Mentor Research Interests are included in the forms. 

  3. Fill in the Data Sheet, and then print it out. If you have difficulty accessing the Word form, open the alternative PDF form, print it and fill it out in black ink. Please note that all applicants must provide a second, permanent e-mail address. 

  4. Please note: 

    1. Incomplete applications will not be considered. 

    2. Additional items added to the application are not accepted. Submitting additional items or addenda or exceeding page limits may result in the removal of your application for consideration. 

  5. Completed applications and materials for the Reynolds Scholarship should be emailed to:    

    Denise Short, EdD, Program Administrator 

          Donald. W. Reynolds Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence 
          University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
          1100 N. Stonewall Avenue
          Oklahoma City, OK 73117

Click here to download the application

Application Checklist


  • Basic identifying information.
  • Provide both your primary and secondary e-mail addresses.


  • 12 point Arial font.
  • 1 inch margins.
  • 5-7 pages double spaced.

Professional development plan must include:

  • Introduction tracing your professional interest in geriatric nursing (500 words or less).
  • Summary of any previous geriatric or research training and experience.
  • Proposed research and leadership goals for the Reynolds Scholarship award timeframe.
  • Anticipated research and leadership competencies to be attained during the award timeframe.
  • An identified mentor in Reynolds Center with rationale that his/her background is appropriate for the applicant’s research focus (see list of Reynolds Mentors).
  • Long-term (10 year) plans. “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?”

Scholars are expected to devote full time (minimum of 40 hours/week) to their professional development plan and research.

Scholars are not permitted to work more than .5FTE during the scholarship period. Where some work activities are to be undertaken during the scholarship period, they must be carefully and fully described in the application.


  • No specific format required for this letter.
  • Letter should be addressed to and mailed directly to the Reynolds Center Program Director.
  • Letter must be received by the due date for the Reynolds Scholarship application.
  • A letter from the University of Oklahoma College of Nursing Reynolds Center mentor who agrees to support and advise the applicant in implementing the scholarship development plan.
  • Letter should include a detailed proposal for involvement in the applicant's professional development; activities planned to develop the applicant’s competencies in research and leadership; and strategies to help the applicant form linkages with relevant colleagues and institutions.
  • Include each mentor's NIH-formatted 4-page bio- sketch.
  • The Center reserves the right to contact the mentor for additional information.


  • No specific format required for this letter.
  • Letter should be addressed to and mailed directly to the Reynolds Center Program Director.
  • Letter must be received by the due date for the Reynolds Scholarship application.
  • If applicant plans to work during the Scholarship period, the employer must provide a letter describing sufficient release time to allow full time commitment to the Scholarship program.
  • Scholars are not permitted to work more than .5FTE (half time) during the Scholarship period. See Professional Development Plan for more information.


Include current document that includes education, professional experience, research, publications, special achievements, and professional service activities.


IF the applicant is applying to the OU PhD in Nursing program, the Selection Committee will review transcripts that are submitted with the PhD Admission Application. No transcripts are included in this Scholarship application. 

IF the applicant is currently enrolled in the OU PhD in Nursing program, include with this application an official OU transcript that incorporates all classes to date. 

Official transcripts from all post-secondary education institutions.


If you are applying to the OU PhD in Nursing program, the Reynolds Selection Committee will retrieve and review the three letters of reference submitted with the PhD application. 

  • These letters are NOT included in this application.
  • Letters must be received by the due date for the Reynolds Scholarship application.

If you are an already-enrolled doctoral student in the OU PhD in Nursing program, you MUST submit three new references in support of this scholarship application. No specific format is required for this letter. 

  • Letters should be addressed to and mailed directly to the Reynolds Center Program Director.
  • Letters must be received by the due date for the Reynolds Scholarship application.

The three reference letters will be reviewed with interest in potential of the applicant to complete the program and specific evidence of the applicant’s potential for academic and professional leadership in the field.

Geriatric Research Focus

Call or email one or more of the College of Nursing faculty listed below to explore how your area of research interest might fit within their areas of expertise. 

Carol Rogers, PhD, RN
Phone: 405-271-1491, ext 49175

Community-based health promotion and healthy aging, testing the effect of low impact exercise on functional fitness and fatigue and sleep to maintain independence and quality of life among older adults.

Diana Sturdevant, PhD, GCNS-BC, APRN, CWS 
Phone: 405-271-1491, ext 49201

Quality of life and care of older adults living in nursing homes. Leadership and adoption/implementation of person-centered care in nursing homes.

Emily Jones, PhD, RNC-OB, FAHA, FPCNA
Phone: 405-271-1491, ext 49135

The intersection of women’s health and long-term cardiometabolic health, gestational diabetes, maternal metabolic health and fetal origins of disease, American Indian health equity, community-based participatory research, and implementation science.

Julie Myers, DrPH, CPHQ
Phone:  405-271-1491, ext 43243

Quality assurance and process improvement, residents’ sexual rights, abuse, and consent, and staff empowerment and turnover in long-term care through research, evidence-based practice, and public policy administration. Behavioral and mental health for older adults through public policy administration.

Kathleen Buckwalter 

Geriatric mental health, providing community-based care for chronically mentally ill older persons, and cognitively impaired older adults, and their caregivers in both institutional and community settings.

Kathleen Dwyer, PhD, RN 
Phone: 405-271-1491, ext 49223

Community-based health maintenance and chronic disease management in vulnerable populations Cancer prevention, screening, survivorship Cancer supportive care.

Melissa Craft, PhD, APRN, CNS, AOCN
Phone: 405-271-1491, ext 49135

Reflection and expressive writing to improve chances of breast cancer reduction and survivorship Storytelling in Native American Women with gynecological cancer.

Rebecca S. Koszalinski, PhD, RN, CRRN, CMSRN
Phone: 405-271-1491, ext 49177

The intersection of priority populations and nurse-led innovation; disabilities and restorative care (cerebral palsy, spina bifida, spinal cord injury, amputation, traumatic injury(, long-term care, communication, social isolation, shared decision-making, equity-centered community design, community-based participatory research.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The Reynolds Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence is available to assist you Monday - Friday during normal business hours (8:00 AM - 5:00 PM Central Time). Telephone 405-271-1491, ext 49233.


START AS SOON AS THE CALL COMES OUT. Do not underestimate the time it takes to properly prepare and complete the application process. All applicants are encouraged to start gathering necessary information as early as possible to avoid missing the deadline. 

Things to do as soon as the call comes out: 

  • Update your Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Begin thinking about your professional development plan and research.
  • Identify and contact three individuals who would write strong letters of recommendation; provide enough information about the PhD program and the Reynolds Predoctoral Scholars Program that they can speak to your qualifications for it.
  • Identify an OU College of Nursing Reynolds Center mentor and begin discussions regarding their availability to be your mentor, the clarity of the match between your goals and research interests and their program of research to participate in this program. The Reynolds Center can provide an updated list of qualified mentors from among the Reynolds Center faculty.


The OU College of Nursing Office of Research can respond to questions regarding the preparation of the PhD application. The office of the Reynolds Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence can respond to questions regarding the Reynolds Scholarship application and provide a list of current mentors in the College and their areas of research expertise.


Letters in support of your PhD application should be included in your PhD application materials to the College of Nursing. If you are a current doctoral student in the OU PhD in Nursing program and applying for a Reynolds Scholarship, letters of support for the Reynolds Scholarship are to be addressed and emailed to: 

Denise Short, EdD, Program Administrator

Donald W. Reynolds Center of Geriatric Nursing

Program Administrator, Donald W. Reynolds Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence

Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing

University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
1100 North Stonewall Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK, USA 73117 

The letter of commitment from your mentor, and the letter from your employing agency (if appropriate) should be emailed to the Program Administrator, Denise Short, EdD (email address above).


The deadline for receiving applications is March 1st by 5 pm CST. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that the application is complete (this includes all references and professional letters). There will be no exceptions made. Incomplete and/or late applications will be ineligible for review. 


We provide a response as soon after the Selection Committee meets as feasible.


Each person's situation is different. You should work with a tax accountant regarding how to handle the award in your particular situation. 


Applicants obtain a commitment from the mentor and a letter of support as part of the application. The mentor should mail a copy directly to the Reynolds Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that the person providing the reference completes it by the due date and an original copy is submitted to the Reynolds Center.


Our program is designed to support the preparation of academic/clinical geriatric nurse leaders. The Reynolds Predoctoral Scholarship thus supports nurses enrolled in or accepted into the OU College of Nursing PhD degree program with a focus on geriatric research and preparation for an academic role in nursing. An example of a degree not supported is the Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP).