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Student of the Month

December Student of the Month: Avi Deol

What is your background?: I was born in Brooklyn, NY and have lived all over the country, including spending some time abroad in India. My family moved every few years so I constantly found myself in new cities and states. I graduated high school and earned my BA and MSW in Iowa. I have a younger brother and two nieces. Having lived from New York City to Portland, Oregon, I chose to return to Iowa to start a new career in a place that I consider to be home. I spent nearly 15 years working in the field of social work, and recently made the decision to explore a new, but complimentary career in healthcare.

What brought you to Kirkwood and why?: I chose Kirkwood to pursue my education because it offered me a place to learn while being close to my family. While I could have chosen a number of other places to earn my nursing degree, Kirkwood offered aspects of learning that instantly drew me in. Kirkwood is an affordable and accredited nursing program that offers more clinical time than I would get anywhere else in Iowa. The faculty to student ratio was small enough that I could get to know my classmates and instructors in meaningful ways, which was very important to me. The program is rigorous and one that I know will prepare to be the best nurse I can be after graduation.

What is your program of study and what interests you about it?: I’m in the last semester of the nursing program. I began my career as a licensed social worker, spending most of my profession in the non-profit sector working with marginalized populations, including areas of homelessness, mental health and survivors of violence. After the pandemic began in 2020, I realized I wanted to expand to a different skill set to better serve my community. I chose to go into nursing as a second career, and am excited for the variety of opportunities within this field to grow and serve vulnerable populations.

Are you involved in anything else on campus? If so, what and why?: Truthfully, the biggest involvement for me has been focusing all of my time and energy on my nursing education. This has included going to supplemental instruction, open labs for continued practice, and studying with a core group of friends. As a non-traditional student, it is important to me to ensure that I am putting in as much effort as possible to make the most of this experience as I prepare for this next chapter in my life.

Are you involved in anything off of campus?: During my nursing program, I pursued employment at the VA Hospital in Iowa City. When I’m not studying or in clinicals, I also try to find time to support my fellow classmates in their learning. I feel that supporting one another outside of the classroom is an integral part of our collective growth. Moving back to Iowa has also given me the opportunity to spend more time with my family, which has been a blessing.

What do you do for fun?: I enjoy spending time outdoors and anything that involves being in the sunshine. Music is also very healing for me, and I play the guitar when I need that release. Spending time with a core group of friends and finding ways to laugh brings me so much joy. I also enjoy a variety of forensic documentaries.

Where do you see yourself in five years?: In five years, I see myself having earned an advanced degree in nursing. I plan to spend my nursing career at the VA Hospital working in critical care nursing, and building my life in Iowa City. As someone who has moved every 3 years throughout my life, establishing a home here is part of my future plans. I plan to always learn and gain new skills, and in the future may begin to shift from individual care to exploring systemic change within the healthcare system.