Student Spotlight: Ini Eyoh

Ini Eyoh
Ini Eyoh

Nursing major awarded Nellie Stone Johnson Scholarship

Iniobong “Ini” Eyoh, 22, a nursing student at Inver Hills Community College, received a Nellie Stone Johnson Scholarship. The scholarships are awarded annually to part-time and full-time students enrolled in programs at Minnesota State colleges and universities.

“The Nellie Stone Johnson Scholarship is a great opportunity for minorities with a union affiliation who are attending a Minnesota State institution,” Ini said. “The scholarship program honors Nellie Stone Johnson, who was a  civil rights activist and union organizer. I received $1,300 and the funds have helped me pay for part of my tuition for two years, which I am very grateful for.”

Ini is a sophomore earning her Associate of Science (A.S.) in Nursing at Inver Hills. She is on track to graduate December 2019. She is enrolled in the Minnesota Alliance for Nursing Education (MANE) program and will be continuing her education at Metropolitan State University in 2020 with plans to earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.).

Three words that describe you as a nursing student:

“Upon graduating from my undergraduate nursing program, I will take and pass the NCLEX-RN Exam to become a licensed registered nurse,” Ini said. “I am devotedly passionate to caring for children and advocating for underserved women of color.”

Ini added that she will continue following her passion by becoming a public health nurse practitioner with the goal to work within impoverished communities, helping provide public health initiatives like education for preventative care as well as healthcare resources.

“Ultimately, I hope to open a clinic that will cater to underserved women of color with children,” Ini said, “and those who may not have readily available funds or resources to receive adequate care.”

More about Nellie Stone Johnson…¹

Nellie Stone Johnson had a long and distinguished record of public service in support of the advancement of minority concerns, the rights of workers, and equal opportunities for all people. Her life was a series of “firsts.”

As a leader of organized labor in the 1930s and 1940s, she was the first woman vice-president of the Minnesota Culinary Council and the first woman vice-president of Local 665 Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union. She was also the first black person elected to citywide office in Minneapolis when she won a seat on the Library Board in 1945. Read more…

Nellie Stone Johnson
Nellie Stone Johnson | Photo: Twin Cities Daily Planet
“Nellie Stone Johnson’s scholarship program reminds us that our work to create greater social mobility for our learners and their families, eliminate opportunity gaps, meet workforce needs, and develop our communities is all connected.  Scholarships not only provide access for more learners to higher education, they represent an important investment in our collective good and our future democracy.”
— Michael Berndt, Interim President, Inver Hills Community College

More about Ini…

Originally from Cottage Grove, Minnesota, Ini is a 2015 graduate of Park High School. Her father, Innocent Eyoh, is originally from Akwa Ibom, a state in Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa with nearly 200 million people. Ini’s given name, Iniobong, means “God’s Time.”

Ini completed her nursing prerequisites at Winona State University, where she was active in the Women of Color Association. She belongs to the Black Student Union at Inver Hills.

Ini works while going to Inver as a nursing assistant in the Orthopedic/Postsurgical Unit at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul. She works at the hospital 32 hours Thursday through Sunday on her busy weeks, helping care for infants and patients up to age 16. In her scarce free time, she enjoys watching movies, going to the gym and making people laugh. She also works as a print model for Caryn Models, and she recently signed with the Porte Model and Talent Agency.

Ini comes from a family of five. Her mother, Lila, worked as a healthcare professional. Ini credits her mom with teaching her to offer a helping hand whenever she can. Her father, Innocent, is an environmental planner with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Ini’s parents met as students at Minnesota State University Mankato.

Her brother, Kufre, 30, also studied at MSUM and has built a career in finance. Her sister, Eka, 26, is a professional runway and commercial model working in New York City. Eka earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Metro State. Ini resides in Minneapolis.

“The generous support of labor and education partners has allowed the Nellie Stone Johnson Scholarship to provide scholarships to full- and part-time students as well as graduate and undergraduate students for 32 years. We annually award upwards of $20,000 in scholarships to minority students attending Minnesota State colleges and universities.
I am proud to serve as vice chair of the NSJ Scholarship Committee, which is so committed to both helping ease the financial burden of students and honoring Nellie Stone Johnson, Minnesota native and labor and civil rights activist who believed education and unions were paths to economic security for minorities and women. She will be the first African American woman to have a statue in the Minnesota State Capital building.”
— Erica Kantola, Facilities and Operations Support, Inver Hills Community College

32nd annual Nellie Stone Johnson Scholarship Dinner gallery ²

Ini Eyoh Q & A

Ini Eyoh
Ini Eyoh

Why did you choose nursing as your career path?
I enjoy working with others and being able to teach others about health promotion. There’s also a lot of variety in nursing, which keeps me interested because I can change what direction I want to go with my career at any point of my life.

What do you like best about the Nursing program?
Learning as much as I can and being able to apply it to real-life situations or teach others about what I am learning.

What is the most challenging part of the Nursing program?
Getting enough sleep, managing your day and reducing stress.

What nursing specialty is most interesting to you?
Pediatrics and public health

What person has influenced you the most in life?
My dad taught me about Nigerian culture when I was growing up. He showed me what it means to have an African heritage. We believe in hard work, and we celebrate our accomplishments.

What advice would you give students thinking about enrolling in the Nursing program?
Don’t get discouraged. Try again as many times as you need until you succeed.

One word that best describes your experience at Inver Hills:


Ini Eyoh 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Leg day at the gym or running outside on a warm summer evening
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Bora Bora
  3. The most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Traveling to Miami, Florida, for my 21st birthday with my best friends.
  4. Favorite quote: “We define ourselves by the best that is in us, not the worst that has been done to us.” — Edward Lewis
  5. Your favorite TV show right now: On My Block on Netflix
  6. Best movie you’ve seen lately: Us
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Become a nurse practitioner
  8. Your national bird if you could have one: Penguin
  9. Dream occupation: Nursing
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Being fluent in Spanish and French
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Global warming
Learn more about Nursing and MANE at Inver Hills by contacting:

Diane Elifrits
Interim Director of Nursing

Learn more about the Black Student Union at Inver Hills by contacting:

Grace Jones
Customer Service Specialist
BSU Staff Advisor

¹ Courtesy of Nellie Stone Johnson Scholarship

² Photos by Matt Blewett and Tee McClenty

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *