Graduating with SONHS Pride

Graduating with SONHS Pride

By SONHSNews

Graduating with SONHS Pride

By SONHSNews
One by one they crossed the stage to receive their class pins and hear their names called as graduates of the School of Nursing and Health Studies (SONHS).

For Barbara Gonzalez, that 15-second walk was the fulfillment of a dream she’d kept alive for more than 30 years as a registered nurse.

Gonzalez, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from the school’s RN-BSN program on Thursday, was one of nearly 170 new graduates in nursing, health informatics, public health, and health science who took part in the SONHS Annual Fall Awards Ceremony on December 12. This year’s ceremony, marking the school’s 70th anniversary, took place in the Shalala Student Center ballroom the day before Commencement.

SONHS Dean Cindy L. Munro congratulated the class and commended the more than 500 relatives and friends in attendance, including the actor Christian Slater, for their “unwavering love and support.” That support came from attendees of all ages, with Michelle Arrojo getting a gleeful shout of “Mommy!” from the audience when she arrived onstage to accept the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Excellence in Academic and Clinical Performance Award. Arrojo was recognized for her scholarly project to integrate an adolescent depression screening and referral program in the pediatric emergency department of a hospital in South Dade.

The other individual student award recipients were Kenneth Wiley (BSN-DNP Nurse Anesthesia Track Excellence in Academic and Clinical Performance Award); Molly McIntyre (BSN Excellence in Academic and Clinical Performance Award); Sarah Schell (BSN Excellence in Leadership Award); and Alexandra Pappas (BSN Alumni Award).

“I chose nursing because it is a meaningful job that is also very flexible. There is so much you can do,” said Maine native McIntyre, who hopes to work in a pediatric intensive care unit.

After the awards were announced, fall graduates from each program received their official School of Nursing and Health Studies class pins. The majority of graduates represented the BSN or the DNP degree programs. The remaining few dozen came from the PhD, online Master of Science in Health Informatics, Bachelor of Science in Public Health, Bachelor of Science in Health Science, and Post-Master’s Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Certificate programs.

For Stephanie Lozano, the evening was particularly meaningful. She beat the odds to proudly graduate with her DNP degree after suffering a severe sudden illness just two years ago and undergoing a kidney transplant last year. “I had a determination inside of me that wouldn’t let me entertain any of the negative diagnoses, prognoses, or outcomes thrown my way,” said Lozano, whose remarkable story was featured in Heartbeat magazine.

“Congratulations on all you have accomplished. I know you didn’t choose this path lightly or without sacrifice, but I assure you, your future is bright,” Dean Munro told the graduates. She also reminded them that the SONHS is their home, urging them to visit often, adding, “I’m saving you all a spot in next year’s Homecoming Parade!”


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