What is your background?: I am a 29-year-old, 4th semester nursing student at Kirkwood. My community roots are centered in Marion, Iowa, and I attended Linn-Mar Community Schools. I have wonderful parents, Bob and Joanie, who raised four children in our little yellow house on Monarch Avenue: Andrew, Stephen, Michael, and myself. Even as adults my brothers and I remain close friends. I started ballet and tap at three years old, and I continued my love of dance by participating in Varsity Poms through Linn Mar High School. In 2010, our Poms team traveled to Orlando, Florida, to compete in nationals, where we ranked third in the nation.
What brought you to Kirkwood and why?: In 2012, as an 18-year-old high school graduate, I was unsure of what my interests were, and I was hoping that college courses would answer these heavy questions for me. After my first (and only) semester in 2012, I was unmotivated and frankly uninspired. I wanted to travel, to experience new sights and meet new people in an open setting. I moved to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, in 2014. Steamboat was my home for over five years and as much as I loved life in Colorado, I had come to understand something about myself that was pivotal in my journey toward finding a fulfilling career. I was meant to invest myself into the care of others. Looking back at my time in different areas of work and career choices, I always have been drawn to helping and working closely with others in need. In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, as schools, restaurants, and companies closed their doors, I was left feeling helpless as I was striving to help people – I wanted to do my part. That same year, I enrolled at Kirkwood Community College. I sold my belongings, hugged my Colorado friends, and moved back to Marion once again. I had the drive, tenacity, and more importantly, I had a vision and a goal to work toward. I was going to be a nurse. Since 2020, I have found community with my classmates and genuine guidance from the nursing faculty. All of this has solidified my greater purpose. I have made life-long friends and met amazing staff who have supported me every step of the way. There is no exaggeration when I state that enrolling in Kirkwood’s Nursing program was one of the best decisions of my life.
What is your program of study and what interests you about it?: My program of study is nursing. My goal is to graduate from Kirkwood with my Associates Degree of Nursing, take my RN boards and begin working as an RN at St. Luke’s. One of my primary motivations for pursuing nursing is the opportunity to care for others. Nurses typically have a caring nature that aids in the recovery of many illnesses, both physical and emotional. This career field allows me to do more than administer medicine; it allows me to communicate with people and make a genuine difference in their lives. This human element, making small differences on a daily basis, and truly assisting people is intrinsic to who I am and who I aspire to be.
Are you involved in anything else on campus? If so, what and why?: My schedule revolves around school. Currently, I am taking two advanced courses and precepting at the Surgical Specialty Unit at St. Luke’s. When I am not in class or precepting, you can find me on campus studying.
Are you involved in anything off of campus?: In all honesty, I am currently 100 percent invested in my education which leaves very little time for other activities. I have four little nephews, one with special needs. When I do have some spare time, I enjoy spending time with them – they’re kind of like a barrel of monkeys!
What do you do for fun?: My idea of fun is anything outdoor related – climbing 14’ers in Colorado (to date, I have summited five), camping, biking, hiking, or simply walking my dog. I will be hiking Tour du Mont Blanc in France this August after my pinning ceremony.
Where do you see yourself in five years?: In five years, I would like to be proficient in my nursing career; having earned the respect of my colleagues and working for a local hospital in adult critical care after obtaining my MSN.