Courier Spotlight: 2017 Couriers Part 1

At the heart of Frontier Nursing University is a talented and diverse community of students, alumni, faculty, staff, Couriers and preceptors. Spotlight blogs feature members of our FNU community that are focused on the mission of educating nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners to deliver quality health care to underserved and rural populations.

In 1928, Mary Breckinridge, founder of Frontier Nursing University established the Courier Program, recruiting young people to come work in the Kentucky Mountains and learn about service to humanity. Couriers escorted guests safely through remote terrain, delivered medical supplies to remote outpost clinics, and helped nurse-midwives during home visits and births. Frontier has benefited tremendously from the 1,600 Couriers who have served since 1928.

This week and next, we’ll be introducing you to the 2017 Courier Class. Please join us in welcoming our newest Couriers!

Brie Belz is a freshman biology major in the pre-med track at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va. She is a dog lover, enjoys the outdoors, and feels she is at her best when she is helping others. She was born in North Carolina, but spent most of her life in Virginia. The book which has most influenced her is The Alchemist. If she could master one skill, it would be to whistle. The craziest thing she has ever done is jump off a cliff, and her proudest accomplishment was serving as the keynote speaker at the National Space Club's Goddard Memorial Dinner in Washington, D.C. In five years, she hopes to be in medical school.


Claire Gasparovich is a third year nursing student at the College of Saint Mary in Omaha, Neb. She is passionate about being involved in her local church, as well as the inner-city missions established in her area. When she is not studying, she enjoys camping, traveling and other outdoor activities. The most influential book she has read is Small Wonder by Barbara Kingsolver. When asked about her expectations of the program, Claire responded, "I am very excited and blessed to be involved in the Courier Program and expect to develop a more applicable understanding of what it means to be active in service as a nurse in my community." In five years, she hopes to be working and studying to be a nurse practitioner.


Matt Hodges is a sophomore at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Ind., where he studies biochemistry and mathematics. He is an avid musician. Matt began playing percussion when he was seven and has since branched out into other instruments. His favorite book is The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. If he could have dinner with anyone, it would be Kurt Vonnegut. His personal hero is his father, and his favorite band is The Shouting Matches. His proudest accomplishment is earning a full-ride scholarship. In five years, he sees himself in medical school.


Brigid Horan is a junior nursing major at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. She is originally from Salem, Conn. Brigid says her favorite nursing class has been Pediatric Nursing, and she hopes to work in the NICU or a pediatric setting in the future. Brigid found out about the Courier Program through her sister, Teresa, who was a Courier in 2013. Her proudest accomplishment is being accepted into the Navy Nurse Corps. The craziest thing she has ever done is go cliff diving. If she could have dinner with anyone, it would be Florence Nightingale. Her goal is to continue her nursing education to become a Nurse Practitioner or Nurse Anesthetist.


We will feature the rest of Couriers next week. Has this article sparked any questions about a specific Courier or the Courier program? You have the opportunity to learn more about the Couriers’ experience! In a future blog post, Couriers and Courier program staff will answer questions asked by you. To ask a question, email or share your questions on social media with the hashtag #askthecouriers by Thursday, July 6, at 5pm EST.

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Welcome to the Frontier Nursing University (FNU) blog. The purpose of this blog is to give a voice to the thousands of students, alumni, preceptors, faculty, administrators and donors who possess a deep commitment to caring for women and families.

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