Class of 2005
Your Ridgewater Experience
Ridgewater was a stepping stone to where I am today, professionally and personally. I always knew that I loved to teach, but I also loved caring for people. I originally started courses toward a teaching degree until a wise person told me that nurses teach too. At that point, I knew where I wanted to go. I wanted to be a nurse educator.
I came from a single-family home with not much money and a first-generation to attend college. My father was a Vietnam veteran that was sick often. Therefore, I was not situated to moving away or going to an expensive private university. Also, things were very different; the only nursing programs in the area included an LPN at St. Cloud Tech or a BSN at St. Bens. Ridgewater had an ADN. Obtaining an ADN was an excellent fit for my long-term goals.
During my last semester at Ridgewater, my father got very sick. I recall the phone call I received as I drove my 1-hour drive home. The call was devastating, and I quickly became a distracted driver that got pulled over for swerving. The officer was very gracious and kind. He understood what I was going through. He allowed me to take a few minutes to gather myself before driving the rest of the way to the St. Cloud hospital. This was the last time I got to see my father. His lasts words to us was “I just want to breathe.” Shortly after, he was intubated, and after a month, we had to say goodbye. The nursing faculty at Ridgewater was a crucial part of supporting me during this significant life event and an integral part of my success to graduate on time.
Since graduation from Ridgewater in 2005, I immediately joined the Air Force Reserves and deployed to Iraq in 2007. The Air Force allowed me to grow professionally and the financial support to complete my BSN and my MSN in nursing education. I worked as an emergency room, intensive care nurse, and nurse educator for multiple sclerosis and asthma patients for several years. In 2012, I secured my first nurse faculty position at North Hennepin Community College. Along my course of continued education and work experience, I got curious about a doctorate. After much consideration, I attended and graduated with my Ph.D. in nursing from the University of North Dakota in 2019. Currently, I work as an Associate Professor at St. Catherine University. I teach nursing across programs, including BSN, DNP, and MSN nurse educators. My research focuses on women, health inequities, and symptomology.
Relationships with Faculty & Staff
Nursing instructors made skills fun. It was never boring in the lab or clinical setting. I never once felt scared or ashamed to ask a question.
I appreciated being able to take piano lessons as an elective course. I never had the opportunity growing up to learn piano. Since then, I continue to practice. It provides me with a means to do something for myself.
Community. Ridgewater provided me with the foundation of what community is and how success is possible with the right support.
Advice to Current & Prospective Students
Life will have obstacles. Knowing how and who can help you get through these obstacles is key to success.