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As a new transplant to Minnesota in 2019, I finally had the time to fulfill my dream of earning my master’s degree. I came to Minnesota because it is my husband’s home state and he was retiring from the military. He was inspirational in leading me to St. Catherine University. Until then, my dream of an advanced degree in nursing had been stopped and started countless times over the past two decades.

As an active-duty military mom with small children, I chose to pause my nursing career to raise my children, a choice I was fortunate to be able to make. As much as I loved being the ‘rock for my children’, I was concerned my break from nursing would end my academic options. But not in the eyes of St. Catherine’s. The admissions personnel validated that I was still a competitive candidate for the nursing program with my years of clinical and teaching experience, a current nursing license and lots of volunteer opportunities to boast about. I felt there was a place for me at St. Catherine’s.

Even in my first academic class, a prerequisite online statistics class, the instructor was super friendly, organized and intelligent. She was so kind and I could tell she honestly wanted me to do well.

Once that last hurdle was completed, on to the graduate program I went. It was evident that the faculty at the School of Nursing wanted me to graduate and to succeed, too. Early on in my program I knew I wanted to go beyond a master’s degree and earn my Doctor of Nursing Practice; however extra practicum hours were required. My program director helped align independent study opportunities for me under the guidance of the associate dean to reach that personal goal and earn those practicum hours. When you are mentored by top people in your school, that’s really incredible. This is just one of several unimaginable opportunities that helped me flourish at St. Catherine’s.