Nadria Wright

Nadria Wright

Editors note: If you would like to make a gift in support of the Nadria Leeann Wright Memorial Nursing Scholarship, visit

During her amazing 18-year life, Nadria Wright loved being part of a team. She was a member of the Blue Thunder Track Club, played saxophone in the Battle High School band, played basketball and ran cross country and track and field. She also traveled to China to study at Shanghai University with Columbia Public Schools and Confucius Institute.

Nadria’s life tragically ended far too soon in September 2019 when she was a freshman nursing student at Columbia College. Out of that tragedy, a new team has formed with a mission of both honoring her and helping future nursing students earn their degrees.

Shaunda Hamilton, Nadria’s mother, founder of Boone County Community Against Violence, has partnered with Stacey Button, President of Regional Economic Development Inc. (REDI); Jessie Yankee, director of the Missouri Women’s Business Center and Suzanne Rothwell, vice president for Advancement with Columbia College, to launch the Nadria Leeann Wright Memorial Nursing Scholarship.

“Nadria was a tenacious young woman full of hopes and dreams and she made an impact on everyone she met,” said Hamilton. “This scholarship was created to keep Nadria’s legacy alive and to help other young promising Columbia College students to achieve their goals. We miss her deeply every day, but we are proud to launch this scholarship on what would have been her 20th birthday (July 6).”

The scholarship, which will be awarded for the first time in April 2022, is focused on assisting students majoring in nursing with a GPA of 3.0 or higher who may be facing financial hardships.

“The college is truly proud to celebrate Nadria’s memory through this new scholarship that will support nursing students for years to come,” said Rothwell. “This testament to the value of higher education by her family and members of our Columbia community is inspirational.”

The REDI Board of Directors and other community members have made generous gifts to ensure the scholarship’s impact is immediate.

“The REDI board of directors is excited to be a part of the Nadria Leeann Wright Memorial Nursing Scholarship at Columbia College,” said Matt Jenne, chair of the REDI Board. “REDI is committed to developing a diverse, well-educated workforce to help the region continue our upward economic trajectory. Columbia College is training the next generation of nurses to meet the ever-growing demand in our healthcare industry and REDI is there to support that vital mission.”

A celebration of the launch of the new award will take place on Thursday, July 14, at 1 p.m. in the New Hall Event Center on the Columbia College campus.

“Healthcare professionals are at the forefront of the Columbia community’s well-being every day,” said Button. “The opportunity for REDI to honor Nadria and help launch this scholarship that supports students who are passionate about caring for others is in lock-step with our mission.”

Visit to learn more about the scholarship or make a gift to support the scholarship.

“We are blessed to have Shaunda as a valued member of our Women’s Business Center team, and we wanted to lift her up and show our support in any way we could,” said Yankee. “Her spirit of perseverance and strength following the loss of Nadria was extraordinary and continues to shine through her commitment to making our community a better place every day.”