In 2005, the Arlene Baia Memorial Scholarship was created by her daughter and son-in-law, Barbara and Don Roeder to honor her mother’s dedication to NIACC and her love for educating nursing students. This annual scholarship is awarded to a second year NIACC Associate Degree Nursing student.
Arlene Baia was a nursing instructor at NIACC from 1968 until 1979. She then became chair of the Health Services Division until her retirement in 1988. “During my 38-year career in nursing education, I appreciated being able to work with hundreds of future nurses from Iowa and Minnesota,” she said.
Arlene, a native of Duluth, Minnesota, received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota in nursing education and a master’s degree in higher education with a minor in sociology from Iowa State University. Arlene valued education and encouraged her students, co-workers, and two daughters, Bonnie and Barbara, to seek higher education.
Bonnie graduated from NIACC in 1970 with an associate degree, and she planned to pursue a career in psychology and counseling prior to her sudden death. Barbara graduated from Rochester Junior College with an associate degree, Mankato State University with a bachelor’s degree in social science, and Winona State University with a master’s degree in business administration. Barbara Roeder is currently employed as a grants/projects manager for the College Advancement Division at Hawkeye Community College.
The Bonnie Baia Scholarship was originally created by Arlene Baia in memory of her daughter, Bonnie, a NIACC graduate, who passed away shortly after her graduation. When Arlene passed away in 2005, her daughter and son-in-law, Barbara and Don Roeder, established a scholarship fund in Arlene’s name and renamed the initial Baia scholarship fund in memory of her sister.
Bonnie graduated from NIACC in 1970 with an associate degree, and she planned to pursue a career in psychology and counseling prior to her sudden death. Arlene said, “Bonnie knew she wanted to be a counselor when she was in eighth grade. She was always interested in helping people. Even in high school her friends came to her for advice about their problems.” Bonnie had planned to continue her education at Mankato State University.
When establishing the original scholarship fund, Arlene said, “Through the Baia Scholarship, I want to assist future NIACC nursing or social science students with their college education while honoring the memory of my daughter, Bonnie.”