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College of Nursing

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The Power of Opportunity

Krystal Owens, director of CON Student Affairs, describes decision to give back


Krystal Owens knew from the moment she stepped onto Bowling Green State University’s campus as a first-generation college student that she would be a scholarship donor. A recipient of several scholarships in her undergraduate career, Owens now ensures that MSU nursing students have access to financial assistance, including starting scholarship endowments of her own.

Without scholarships, Owens knew that she never would have been able to afford college. Her high school counselor provided Owens with information on scholarships that provided her a half-ride to BGSU. Upon arriving in Bowling Green, Ohio, an admissions counselor connected Owens to scholarships that covered the remainder of her tuition.

The experience with her high school counselor and the BGSU admissions team verified that Owens wanted to be a donor herself. She wanted to support students just as she had been supported in her education.

Owens will begin that mission of supporting students financially with a new endowment: the Krystal K. Owens “You’re Not Alone” Scholarship Endowment. This fund benefits marginalized students in the College of Nursing, particularly “first-generation college students, students of color, academically and economically disadvantaged students, and bereaved students.”

“I want to remind people that they are not alone on their journey,” said Owens.


However, Owens believed she could do more. Her first endowment was based on a major life experience attending college on scholarship, although it wasn’t her most impactful life experience. Her journey with mental health held that title.

Owens shared that she began to experience post-partum depression after her first son was born in 2011. Her community had very little knowledge of mental health at the time. “I couldn’t understand how I could experience depression after having my son that I love much,” said Owens. “I thought it was just something I could shake off, but in actuality, I couldn’t shake it off.”

Owens’s battle with depression reached a peak in December 2013. Against the advice of family, she decided to check herself into an in-patient psychiatric hospital. “It was the scariest time of my life,” said Owens. “It was my first time being away from my son, but it was what saved me.”


December 2023 will mark a decade since Owens was hospitalized. Very few people knew about her mental health journey until this point. “I haven’t been open with my mental health journey because of the stigma behind mental health,” said Owens. She worried that sharing her story would damage her reputation or character. Then a student’s plea for help opened the door for Owens to connect her work and her experience.

“In spring 2023, we had a nursing student who, at the end of the semester, was experiencing severe suicidal thoughts,” said Owens. The student’s story clicked with Owens’s, so she made the decision to share her journey. “They were the first student I had shared my story with.”

Seeing how the student responded to Owens sharing her journey proved how impactful it was to hear another person’s story who may be experiencing a similar trial. Owens and the student were able to empower each other to write their own chapter in their mental health journey. The student was empowered to reach out for help from her family, and Owens decided to connect her experience with her interest in philanthropy.

Thus, the Krystal K. Owens Recognizing Mental Resilience Endowed Scholarship was created. When the endowment is fully funded, it will support nursing students who have been impacted by behavioral disorders or mental illness or are committed to mental health promotion, including students on track to become Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners.

Owens hopes this scholarship and sharing her story will help break the stigma around mental health. “I just want to talk about it like the warriors that we are while battling through our journeys.”


To help fund the Krystal K. Owens Recognizing Mental Health Resilience Endowed Scholarship, please contact the CON Development Office or visit this site.