2022 Scholarship Winner – Paulina Nieto

June 28, 2022

Indiana Donor Network Foundation

Paulina Nieto has received two heart transplants – one at age two and another one at 15.

“Being blessed twice with continued chances of life has given me an immense passion for life,” she said. “I am especially passionate about continuing to advocate about the increasing need for organ donors.”

Nieto, 25, of Columbus, Indiana, frequently shares her transplantation experiences at community events and conferences. “I have compassion for parents of children facing the same situations as I did. I’ve spoken with young patients waiting for a heart transplant to help them feel more at ease and understand that their current struggles are not permanent,” she said. “With the blessings I’ve been given throughout my life, I feel called to advocate for those in need.”

Nieto graduated from Columbus East High School in 2017. She graduated from Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus in 2021. Today, she’s pursuing a master’s degree in clinical social work at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis while working part-time as a Latinx coordinator at Love Chapel, a Columbus food pantry and homeless shelter.

“The cumulation of my Latinx descent, integrating myself into the U.S. and being a double heart transplant recipient has given me a variety of goals to look forward to,” Nieto said. “I have a strong drive to work with children and their families who are facing life-threatening illnesses. I want others to feel understood and to have a support system to guide them through their journey of life.

“I want to make the most out of my life and extend my hand and warmth to those in need,” she said.


Read about the other 2022 Scholarship winners here.

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