Jennifer Watson of Monticello is the recipient of the annual Carla McCulloch Scholarship at Hinds Community College. The scholarship is awarded each year to a Hinds second semester nursing student to help pay for the second year of school.

Jennifer Watson of Monticello, left, was awarded the Hinds Community College Carla McCulloch Scholarship by Larry McCulloch, a former Simpson County resident. The scholarship is named for his late daughter. (April Garon/Hinds Community College)

Watson, 24, has a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from Mississippi State University but, like the namesake of the scholarship she is receiving, she felt a calling to become a nurse.

“It’s an honor to receive this scholarship. I’ve got some pretty big shoes to fill,” said Watson, who attends classes at Hinds’ Jackson Campus-Nursing/Allied Health Center. “But I believe I’m in the right profession. It’s always been in my blood to be compassionate, so I decided to choose nursing as a career.”

Watson plans to work as a labor and delivery nurse when she graduates in 2019. “I love babies. I’m a big ‘baby’ person,” she said. “I want to be with the mother and the kids during that time.”

This year is the 26th year the Carla McCulloch Scholarship has been awarded. It was created by Larry and Carol McCulloch, formerly of Magee but now residents of Roanoke, Va., in memory of their daughter Carla, a Simpson Academy graduate who was a Hinds nursing student at the time of her death in an April 1991 accident.

The award is made annually to a second semester nursing student who demonstrates the caring and enthusiasm for nursing that Carla embodied. She was a dedicated nursing student who took care of loved ones but also had a fun-loving streak.

The McCulloch family requests that the scholarship be awarded to a student who demonstrates the care and compassion that their daughter did.

“You are going to learn nursing, the medical techniques. I don’t know of any textbook that you can learn caring and compassion from. That’s what makes great nurses,” Larry McCulloch told Hinds nursing students. “We feel like, and we’re told, that Carla was like that when she was working part-time at the hospital. Whether it be emptying bedpans, getting ice, whatever it took for the patient – that’s what she would do.

“That’s what nursing is all about – taking care of people and having compassion,” he said. “It’s a calling.”

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 or call 1.800.HindsCC.


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