PEARL – Six years ago, when she was 19, Allison Evans of Mendenhall broke her neck in a devastating car accident. A college student at the time, she was most upset that she was missing her finals and worried about her future.
Now, a nursing student at Hinds Community College’s Rankin Campus, she is getting help from the Carla McCulloch scholarship, named for a Hinds nursing student who was killed in 1991 in a car accident in Simpson County. The scholarship is funded by her parents, Larry and Carol McCulloch, formerly of Magee and currently residents of Roanoke, Va.
The similarities in their situations really struck Evans when she heard McCulloch’s story. “When I read about the scholarship, I definitely could relate to her. For them (her parents) to do this in her memory, that’s awesome,” Evans said.
Her own car accident was a low point in her life, but the nursing care she received, especially from one nurse in particular, influenced her to stay positive.
“I was kind of really sad when I was in the hospital. I had one specific nurse who had been in an accident and lost his leg. He showed me his prosthetic,” Evans said. “He was like, “Look, I got through my situation. You’re going to get through yours. It’s all going to work out in time.’ That one thing I’ve just always held on to.”
Evans previously received a degree in veterinary technology and is working at the Animal Emergency and Referral clinic in Flowood. She is also finishing her second semester in Hinds Community College’s Associate Degree Nursing program on the Rankin Campus. The Carla McCulloch scholarship will help pay her tuition this fall.
Evans said that will be a huge benefit. Currently, she is in class Monday-Thursday, does her clinical work on Wednesday and Thursday and works 12-hour shifts at the vet clinic on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
“It’s been really tough,” she said of her busy schedule going to school and working. “I’ve learned a lot of things about working with teams. It’s been hard but it’s been enjoyable, especially second semester.”
Dene Bass Cook, a former Hinds nursing instructor who knew Carla McCulloch, described her intensity. “She was an individual who was very self-directed and had high goals for herself. She sparkled with determination. She had such a focused idea about how she was going to excel in whatever kind of education she was in,” she said.
But Carla also had a sparkling personality. “She had a very phenomenal sense of humor. It was a very dry sense of humor and, when she said something, you just had to laugh because it was most often funny,” Cook said.
Carla McCulloch was a Simpson Academy graduate and a Hinds nursing student at the time of her death in an April 1991 accident on a three-wheeler. The award is made annually to a second semester nursing student who demonstrates the caring and enthusiasm for nursing that Carla embodied.
As Mississippi’s largest community college, Hinds Community College is a comprehensive institution offering quality, affordable educational opportunities with academic programs of study leading to seamless university transfer and career and technical programs teaching job-ready skills. With six locations in central Mississippi, Hinds enrolls about 12,000 students each fall semester. To learn more, visit www.hindscc.edu or call 1.800.HindsCC.