Philanthropy in Action: New scholarship supports students studying health informatics

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Inspired by the legacy of their mothers' generosity, Tamara Nall and Clement Ezeanii have created a scholarship program to help Mason graduate students pursue degrees in the in-demand field of health informatics.

student at an international conference
Mason graduate student Fahim Durani is the first recipient of the Susanna Ezeanii and Mayfred Jolinda Nall Health Informatics Scholarship. Photo provided

George Mason University’s Health Informatics Program, which incorporates health care, technology, and data science, has an international reputation for its faculty excellence and commitment to student success.

That reputation and the need for graduates to support specialized data collection and analysis are what attracted Tamara Nall and her husband, Clement Ezeanii, to support the program. The couple has created the Susanna Ezeanii and Mayfred Jolinda Nall Health Informatics Scholarship Endowment to honor the memories of their mothers while making educational aspirations tangible for these College of Public Health students.

“The College of Public Health is grateful for the opportunities that this endowment offers students,” said Dean Melissa Perry. “Endowed scholarships provide much needed financial support for ambitious students who wish to pursue knowledge and experience through graduate education.”

The endowment supports an annual scholarship of $10,000 for students pursuing a master’s degree in health informatics, and the first recipient is Fahim Durani.

“The scholarship means a lot to me, and it’s really had a positive impact on my academic journey,” said Durani. “As a full-time student, I have had to balance work while giving enough time to my studies and academics. But with this relief, I was able to focus more time on my classes.”

Durani also notes that the scholarship has given him the flexibility to take part in professional opportunities, such as the 2024 Health Information Management Systems Society conference, where he was able to represent Mason’s Health Informatics Program at an international gathering of health professionals.

“Health informatics is a rapidly growing and dynamic field,” said program director Janusz Wotjusiak. “Highly qualified graduates are urgently needed by today’s health and public health systems, and this scholarship creates opportunities for students from all pathways to pursue this exciting career.”

Graduates of the Health Informatics MS program are employed by health care and public health agencies and technology firms to support specialized data collection and analysis that is mission critical to providing essential health services.

“The impact of George Mason's initiatives is truly awe-inspiring, and we feel humbled to be able to contribute to an institution so devoted to its students," said Nall, a distinguished member of the George Mason University Foundation Board of Trustees. "They only serve to enhance the already remarkable work Mason is doing, and we take immense pride in being part of that."

Nall, who holds PhD in engineering management from George Washington University, holds multiple roles as the founder, president, and CEO of The Leading Niche. The internationally renowned company is known for its exceptional use of data and cutting-edge consulting to provide actionable intelligence to customers in the commercial, defense, and civilian sectors both in the United States and internationally. Nall's achievements have earned her numerous accolades, including esteemed honors such as The Network Journal's 40 Under 40 Award, Black Enterprise 40 Under 40 Award, and the Global Outstanding Business Award presented by the National Minority Business Council, among many others.

“I know our moms would approve of this,” said Ezeanii. “They were givers, and they always loved to see people have opportunities to be able to succeed in life. My mom, early on, knew that education was something that could transform lives.” 

Nall, too, recalled her mother’s work to support students in local schools, including organizing winter clothing drives for students and partnering with a local church to provide breakfast to students during the school year and food during the summer for students who relied on receiving meals at school. “If you grow up in that environment of giving,” Nall said, “it just becomes part of you.”

Students interested in learning more about the Susanna Ezeanii and Mayfred Jolinda Nall Health Informatics Scholarship may do so via the College of Public Health website. Applications for fall 2024 are due May 31, 2024.