The Winona State University Department of Graduate Studies is proud to announce that Nkemdilim “Kelly” Diaz, a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) student at the University, has been awarded the Deborah E. Trautman Future Nurse Leader Scholarship by the Foundation for Academic Nursing, the philanthropic arm of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).

This prestigious scholarship is awarded to outstanding graduate nursing students who aspire to leadership roles. In addition to receiving financial support, Kelly will attend the upcoming Graduate Nursing Student Academy (GNSA) Conference in Washington, D.C., on August 17-18, 2023, where she will have the opportunity to meet nursing leaders, including Dr. Trautman.


Nkemdilim “Kelly” Diaz

Kelly is a remarkable student with a passion for serving her community. As she reflects on her journey, she says, “This career has not only challenged me to discover new depths of strength and compassion, but has also completely transformed the way I view the world around me.” After graduating with honors from her baccalaureate program, she began serving as an instructor and preceptor for new graduates and student nurses, focusing on helping refugee and immigrant community members access affordable training toward certified nursing assistant licensure. In 2019, she served on an interdisciplinary medical mission team in Central America, demonstrating her commitment to making a difference in the lives of others.

Kelly’s membership in AACN’s Graduate Nursing Student Academy has sparked her interest in healthcare policy, advocacy, and professional development. As the recipient of the AACN’s Deborah E. Trautman Future Nurse Leader scholarship, she is thrilled to have the opportunity to further develop her leadership skills and continue to champion the nursing profession while inspiring others to do the same. “Hopefully, such efforts will not only encourage other nurses to do the same, but ultimately aid in creating a pathway that will allow us to reconstruct the way we do healthcare, starting with how we prepare our future nurse leaders, ” Kelly states.


Winona State University is proud to have Kelly as a member of our Graduate Nursing program and congratulates her on this outstanding achievement. We are confident that her passion, dedication, and leadership skills will continue to serve her well as she pursues her career in nursing. We look forward to seeing her future successes and accomplishments in the field.


About the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN): AACN is the national voice for academic nursing, representing 865 schools of nursing nationwide. AACN works to establish quality standards for nursing education; assists schools in implementing those standards; influences the nursing profession to improve health care; and promotes public support for professional nursing education, research, and practice. For more information, visit

About the Foundation for Academic Nursing: Launched in January 202, the Foundation for Academic Nursing is the philanthropic arm of AACN that raises funds to support new innovations in nursing education and practice. The Foundation serves as a focal point for AACN’s fundraising efforts while elevating the importance of academic nursing and member schools in the philanthropic community. For more information, visit