Leah Nussbaum: Recipient for Fall 2023

Single mother scholarship recipient

Congratulations to Leah Nussbaum, the Kathleen Mullally Foundation scholarship recipient for 2023.
Published: January 21, 2023

Two weeks ago, The Kathleen Mullally Foundation awarded their third educational grant to Ms. Leah Nussbaum. This nonprofit organization, founded by recent Queens College graduate and Students for Life of America activist Josephine Rose, seeks to award educational grants to pregnant or parenting students. The award ceremony was held at and in partnership with the pregnancy resource center of Ulster County, The Bravo Center.

            The event was held in the resource center’s meeting conference room at their new renovated location on Albany Avenue in Kingston, New York.

The educational grant was inspired by the Students for Life of America Pregnant on Campus Initiative, a program aimed at creating a support network on college campuses for pregnant or parenting students, as well as advocating for and educating those students. 

            “It is so important to support mothers and remind them that what they are doing is inspirational, especially in a culture and climate that devalues motherhood,” said Ms. Rose.

            Leah Nussbaum, the recipient, is a SUNY New Paltz graduate with a degree in jazz performance and music theory. She is currently pursuing a second degree in accounting. Leah shared that she was confronting a difficulty pregnancy while battling an educational system that seemed predisposed to ignore her needs,

“I was fully pre-eclamptic, 36 years old and ‘not supposed to have kids.’ My blood pressure skyrocketed and I was put on bed rest… I was advised by my professors I could put in a request for leave, but that the tests needed to be taken in person. I chose to finish the semester, taking a severe toll on my health… I was unable to fit into the chairs that pull out. The only spot they had for me was at the teacher’s desk, where they sat me without flipping the desk around…I ended out in the hospital after this date, thinking I had a blood clot from the pain. There was no clot, I was just over-doing it. I should have been accommodated but was told to drop.”

            Leah’s story is all too common for many SUNY and CUNY students. Pregnancy is often looked at as a disease to cure rather than as a joy to be accommodated. In Leah’s case, her post-pregnancy complications made finishing the semester even more challenging, “When they induced me, my placenta ruptured… I needed emergency surgery 5 weeks later. The school sided with my professors because I couldn’t get the emergency medical paperwork in soon enough.”

Luckily, after a tumultuous and complicated delivery, Leah’s baby girl Harmony was born on January 8th. One year later, Leah would receive the scholarship award at the Bravo Center. When Leah arrived, she expressed what the monetary grant and emotional encouragement meant to her, “it is easy to become discouraged.” She remarked on how she wished she had known about the resources Bravo offers during her pregnancy, such as free, confidential ultrasounds, formula, clothing, and more.

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