When Nikolas “Nik” Meggos was
a student at Alton High School in
Illinois, he thought he would become
an accountant. After all, he was good
at math, so it made perfect sense.
The last thing on his radar was a career
in medicine, especially since he was
afraid of doctors and needles.
But now, he’s in his first semester at Goldfarb School of Nursing
at Barnes-Jewish College. Not only is he on his way to becoming
a nurse, but he is the recipient of the Nancy Carroll Allen
Scholarship, the first Goldfarb scholarship that covers total
tuition and fees.
“I had a sudden change of heart,” he says explaining his
decision to switch from accounting to nursing. “I realized that
this is something I have to do. I couldn’t sit at a desk all day
doing numbers. I’m a shy person, but I want to help people.”
“I’m fairly religious and I feel this is my service to help others.
I was given the gifts of gentleness and patience and being a
nurse is a better use of these gifts than being an accountant.”
And the generosity of one donor made Nik’s nursing
The scholarship he received is the result of a gift from
Nancy Carroll Allen, a 1965 alumna of Jewish Hospital School
of Nursing and former staff member of Jewish Hospital, a
predecessor of Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Nancy, a native of
Alton, specified that the scholarship be offered to an Alton
High School student or graduate who is also active in the Alton
community in order to give back to the city she calls home.
After graduating from Alton High School in 1962, Nancy applied
to Jewish Hospital School of Nursing but wasn’t sure how her
family would afford the tuition. Thankfully, she was offered
a scholarship that opened the door to her future. It was an
anonymous scholarship that she never forgot.
“I was so thrilled,” she says. “My parents were not well off so
without the scholarship, it would have been a real struggle.
This was a life-changing experience.”
Nancy went on to work at Jewish Hospital after obtaining
her nursing degree in 1965. During her pediatric infectious
disease rotation, she met the man who would become her
husband: Robert Allen, MD. They had one date and she
knew he was the one.
It was the beginning of a long and exciting journey for the
couple. Dr. Allen became a renowned physician-scientist,
conducting pioneering work in the diagnosis and understanding
of deficiencies of vitamin B12 and folate. His work was important
because patients with B12 deficiency can develop serious
hematologic and neurologic abnormalities.
In 1978, he invented a much more accurate method for
measuring vitamin B12 in blood; Nancy worked alongside her
husband as the clinical coordinator of the human studies using
the new test. Today, the test is used by clinical laboratories
throughout the world.
The Allens, who now live in Denver, are retired and focused
on giving back.
“We have been very fortunate,” Nancy says of their life
together. And it all started after she became a nurse. “I was
given a scholarship that helped me pursue my dream and
I want to pay it forward.”
“My parents have worked so hard to save money
and now they can do what they want without
worrying about paying for school,” he says. “It’s
my way of giving back to them.”
Nik says he will be eternally grateful for Nancy’s
generosity. He had an opportunity to meet Nancy
and thank her for helping him pursue what he
sees as his mission.
“She told me two things: always work hard and
make a difference in someone’s life,” he says
adding that he plans to do both.
“I told her that she’s not only having an impact
on my life, she is going to help so many people
with this one scholarship.”