Bethany student Nyska Etienne, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, has been awarded a grant from the Institute for International Education.

The grants, given to undergraduate and graduate Haitian students studying in the United States, were provided to help students who are facing difficulties in the wake of the Haitian earthquake.

Etienne, who is majoring in elementary education, is a junior this year. While at Bethany, she has participated in the International Student Organization and women’s tennis. Last year, she was named first team all-KCAC player and conference newcomer of the year and currently serves as the team’s co-captain.

The assistance grants were provided to help Haitian students studying in America. With nearly 2,000 miles between her and her family, Etienne was worried about the after effects in her earthquake-ravaged hometown and also about continuing her education.

“I am better now knowing that my parents, brother and sister are okay,” Etienne said. “I feel horrible for my country though. On the news, I see some of the most important buildings in rubble and that hurts.” There are additional worries plaguing Etienne as well and the continuing cost of obtaining a degree is on that list of worries. “I want to become a teacher and move back to Haiti. I love kids. I want to make a difference in their lives,” she said.

According to a press release, the nonprofit advocacy organization headquartered in New York tracks international students in the U.S. More than 850 international students are from Haiti.

After the natural disaster hit Haiti on January 12, an out pouring of concern immediately flowed to Etienne. Professors have e-mailed and peers have stopped her on campus. “I am very thankful to everyone who is helping me and my country. It is comforting to know that everyone wants to help,” she said.