2018 ACNM Student Scholarship Winners

Congrats to the three recipients of this year’s annual student scholarship award! We can all hear more about their experience at the annual meeting during the student potluck meeting November 13th.

MADELINE GARDNER

As a child, my mom suggested I become a midwife, but I wasn’t interested. Luckily in my late teens I had the opportunity to attend two home-births of friends and my mind was blown. Then my mom convinced me to take a doula workshop sponsored by Turtle Women’s Doula Project. They offered me a job where I was privileged to care for mostly teen moms. A few years later I completed a midwifery practicum at a high-volume CPM birth center in TX. While there, I knew I would become a midwife, but the timing and the CPM route were not right for me. I spent several years pursing another passion in advocacy and grassroots organizing before returning home to earn my BSN from The U of MN in 2013. I have worked on L&D at UMMC and now I am a birth assistant at The MN Birth Center. I anticipate graduating from Frontier Nursing University this Dec. I was so grateful to receive a scholarship that allowed me to go to the annual meeting. Clinical issues, QI and the racial disparities tracks were the sessions I gravitated towards the most. I also attended a half day workshop on sexual pain. I want to be a midwife because I haven’t been able to get it out of my heart since the first birth I attended. It is an honor to hold space for and serve women at vulnerable and transformative times. I am passionate about EBP, physiologic birth, gyn care and reducing racial disparities. My interests are varied – I hope to work at either a birth center or a hospital practice with underserved clientele. Throughout my career I’m excited to be part of innovations to improve outcomes.

ARI SKALISKY

My name is Arielle Skalisky and I will be entering my third year (of four) of the midwifery specialty of the DNP program at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. I have been a labor and delivery nurse for just over two years at Essentia Health St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth, MN. As an Ethiopian-adoptee, I deeply desire to return to Africa as a midwife to aid in the delivery of babies in rural villages with three large goals at the center of this ambition. First, I want to impact the experience of birth so women feel empowered, especially within patriarchal societies where women’s health is not highly prioritized. Second, I want to teach some basic skills so women may be better equipped to take care of one another during times when medical assistance is not readily available. My final goal is to open a children’s home for orphans as a way of giving back to the community who cared so much for me as a baby. Through this children’s home, I hope to establish a system of education to empower children to reach beyond their own challenges to the dreams and aspirations they may otherwise never have considered. Achieving my midwifery degree and building a wider network through the ACNM conference was an incredible opportunity, pushing me one step closer to fulfilling the three goals that are the culmination of my life’s work.

ALLIE WELLE

I am in my third and final year of midwifery school at the University of Minnesota. I have worked as a labor and delivery and postpartum nurse in Grand Forks, ND, as well as St. Joseph’s and St. John’s here in the Twin Cities. I am a Certified Lactation Counselor and have worked as a clinical instructor to nursing students at the U of M. I also serve on the planning committee for the Optimal Outcomes conference and is the media intern for the MN Affiliate.

I love the midwifery model of care and how it focuses on supporting and empowering women in their own healthcare decisions. I believe midwives play a crucial role in addressing the inequities in women’s healthcare, and I could not be more excited to be a part of that change. I hope to work in a setting where I can practice full scope midwifery and care for underserved populations. I attended multiple educational sessions at the Annual Meeting and particularly enjoyed learning about how to teach new parents about safe sleep and how to promote sex positivity in clinical practice.