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SAU nursing student inspires scholarship for first responders

Steven Wright at work on the front lines of the pandemic

Many lives have been disrupted during the coronavirus pandemic, particularly those of our front-line healthcare workers. Spring Arbor University student and registered nurse (RN) Steven Wright is no exception. Now, Wright’s story has inspired a scholarship to help other SAU nursing students as they prepare to serve others in their careers.

Wright’s career in nursing began in his 20s, when he decided to obtain his Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) license. He loved the excitement of being an EMT, but he decided to further his education to become an RN. Wright graduated from Jackson College in 2011 and has now been working as a nurse for 10 years. He currently works for Henry Ford Allegiance Health in Jackson, Michigan.

At the beginning of 2020, before the pandemic reached the United States, Wright was working on a medical intensive care unit (MICU) focused on treating patients with respiratory issues. At the time, Wright and his MICU coworkers couldn’t have known how busy their work would become just a few months into the new year.

As the pandemic spread, Wright and his wife, Lisa, agreed that it would be best for her to stay with family, due to the nature of Wright’s work and her preexisting conditions. For the last year, the couple has only spent time together while donning masks and practicing social distancing. It’s been a difficult situation to endure, but Wright takes comfort in knowing that he is making a difference in fighting the pandemic at work. “Going to work makes me feel like I’m doing something towards making it better,” he says.

The couple was recently reunited after Lisa received the vaccine.

“I’m really proud of our family’s commitment early on to stare this [pandemic] down and fight it,” says Wright. “My stepdaughter was in the first wave of people creating and giving away masks.”

As a student of SAU’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program, Wright has been able to complete his course assignments between busy shifts at work and visits with his wife. By pursuing his master’s degree, Wright prepares to take the next step in his nursing career.

Over the last year, Wright and his nursing colleagues have faced unforeseen challenges — both personally and professionally. Yet Wright is slow to accept praise for his work, preferring instead to shine a light on the excellence of his coworkers. “All my coworkers are amazing,” says Wright. “I’m just doing my job. If I’m a hero, there are thousands of heroes out there.”

“This job found me. God put me where I needed to be.”

In honor of Wright and other front-line nurses, Robyn and Edward Jacobson started a new scholarship to encourage and help SAU nursing students as they prepare for lives of service to others. The Moore Family First Responders Endowed Scholarship Fund, established through Robyn and Edward’s generous gift, was inspired in part by Wright’s story and impact during the pandemic.

The scholarship is available to first-year students majoring in nursing or a related healthcare field at SAU. Find out more about SAU’s nursing programs at