Congratulations graduates!

Dean Chris Coleman

Dr. Chris Coleman

Congratulations to the class of 2021! Not only have you earned your Bachelor’s degree in Nursing, you are the first class of IU students to complete the four-year Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing program at Indiana University School of Nursing in Fort Wayne since it was established in July of 2018.

You are entering the nursing profession at a very exciting and challenging time. Whether you become a bedside nurse, a nurse practitioner, a nurse educator, or an administrator, you are joining the best profession in the world - one that is 3.8 million strong. Nursing not only offers you incredible career mobility within various settings it offers you national mobility as well.

Due to COVID-19, the health care industry and society at large are encountering new challenges, and nurses are leading the way at the bedside and in clinical and administrative leadership. Nursing continues to be ranked #1 for trust among all of the health professions, and I know you will continue to foster the remarkable faith the public has in our profession.

I’m so proud of you all! Congratulations!

The class of 2021 voted on artwork for a commemorative T-shirt and this is the winner!

Dean Robin Newhouse

On behalf of the faculty and staff of IU School of Nursing, congratulations on your graduation and entryDean Newhouse into the nursing profession. I know this last year has been more different than any of us ever expected. When I think of you, the words resilient, dedicated, and tenacious come to mind. I imagine that you will carry those characteristics with you through your lifetime – after all- you are IU nurses! You will accomplish much and make a difference to the health of countess people, their families, and communities.

For example - Let me start with some statistics. 33.3m and 593,000. These statistics are 33.3 million U.S. cases of Coronavirus and 593,000 deaths related to Coronavirus. Nurses have been central to the response of Coronavirus on the front lines of infection control and delivering health care in all settings – public health, home visits, community, ambulatory, acute care, long term care.

I know that as a clinician, you personally and collectively will improve the lives of patients, families, and their communities - protecting, promoting, and optimizing their health. You will prevent illness through assessment, planning, implementing, and evaluating your plan. You will prevent injury through strategies of patient education and policy advocacy. You will alleviate suffering through your diagnosis and treatment of the human responses. You will have an opinion about policy and will advocate for health care for individuals, families, communities, and populations.

I am exceedingly proud of you and congratulate you on your graduation. I know how important you will be to the health of the nation because you are an IU nurse - and it is a good day to be an IU Nurse!

Associate Vice Chancellor Ann Obergfell

Ann Obergfell

On behalf of Indiana University Fort Wayne and our campus partner Purdue University Fort Wayne, I wish to congratulate and celebrate you.

You, the Spring 2021 graduates, have demonstrated extraordinary determination and commitment throughout the educational experience on this campus. You represent the inaugural class of students to graduate from the Indiana University School of Nursing in Fort Wayne. You finished your education in the midst of a global pandemic that has changed the way we all live, work and study. Through it all you have demonstrated exceptional resiliency and the ability to adapt in a constantly changing environment. You have developed not only exceptional nursing skills but skills which will be invaluable in the profession of nursing and of life.

The faculty and staff of IU School of Nursing have prepared you well for this journey, and I salute them for all they have done to bring you to this day. Nursing is a noble profession; and as we have seen during this global health crisis, they are the backbone of healthcare, supporting patients and their families, often at great risk to themselves. Be proud members of your profession and never forget the valuable, important, and courageous work you are doing.

We at IU Fort Wayne recognize your accomplishments and wish you well as you start this next leg of your life journey. Congratulations and Best wishes.

Assistant Dean Denise Kneubuhler

Denise Kneubler

Congratulations on behalf of the IU School of Nursing faculty and staff. Remember four years ago? Many of you wondered if you would be accepted into the nursing program and make it through the rigors of nursing school. Over the past four years, there have been many tears and sleepless nights. You have spent hours studying for exams and writing papers. You have persevered, and you are here to celebrate with family and friends, ending an academic adventure with many ups and downs, and entering the nursing profession. You are leaving the role of student and will soon be our peers. You still have one task to accomplish, passing that NCLEX exam.

AA Milne stated: “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.” Keep telling yourself, “I can pass the NCLEX, I got this.”

As you end this chapter in your life’s journey, I want to leave you with some words by Michael Josephson: “Take pride in how far you’ve come. Have faith in how far you can go. But don’t forget to enjoy the journey.”

Congratulations IU School of Nursing graduates and enjoy this time of celebration.

Donavan Stone

We celebrate the nursing students of the class of 2021 of IU Fort Wayne. Through thick and thin, weDonavon stone have finally made it to the end of the road. Although it has been a very long and interesting road, all of the hard work and dedication we put in has finally paid off. From competing for spots in the program, to crying over the price of our school scrubs, to partaking on clinical and crying both good and not so good tears over tests, we have made it.

This moment is bittersweet for many reasons. Sweet to think that there are no more tests, besides NCLEX, no more studying for countless hours, except for NCLEX, and no more tears or stress thanks to school. On the flip side, it is bitter to think of saying goodbye; saying goodbye to the regular routine we have grown used to; bitter to say goodbye to the comfort of saying “I’m just a student, but let me grab the nurse;” bitter to say goodbye to being in close contact with such amazing professors and faculty who have guided us. And, of course, bitter because we know have to face NCLEX.

Although it is scary to think of how rapidly our lives will change over the next few months, it is important to remember how close we are to realizing our dreams and goals. That dream to graduate with a BSN and add the title of RN to all of our emails and signatures. Alright, maybe that’s just my dream, but the point is that we all had a dream that led us here. Dreams are what drive us to achieve greatness in this world. Harriet Tubman once said, “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” It’s so important to stick with a dream and push through the trials and tribulations in order to reach that dream. And, Lord knows, we have had our fair share over the years. I want to share a short story about a little boy with a dream.

There once was a little boy who always dreamed of having a career where he would be able to impact people in a positive way each and every day. At first, it was the classic dream of being a doctor. Then a chef, even a hairstylist at one point because he would brush his Nana’s hair when he would visit with her. As he grew older, the dream continued to shift and morph over the years until he hit high school and began narrowing his career path down to the medical field. His freshman year, he was tasked to do a project to determine the cost of education for a degree he was interested in and he for some reason chose to be a pharmacist. After putting in the research and time to do the assignment, he would realize this was a mistake. Around that time, however, he witnessed his mother finish nursing school and begin her career. Over the next year or so, he saw the work that she was able to do with her patients in the field and was reminded of the dream he once had - to help and impact people’s lives positively each day. He learned that through the world of nursing, this was a very real possibility, as well as to satisfy his inner nerd love for science and math. As time continued, he entered into college and in turn, nursing school. Along the way, he met some of the most amazing friends and professors. The kind of people that you meet along a journey of a lifetime, who you laugh with, cry with, stay up until 3 a.m. writing a coffee-fueled care plan and laughing slap happy when you finally finish. With something as wonderful, and sometimes as traumatic as nursing school there was a sense of unity and a bond that united the boy and his friends. A sense of unity that inspired not only the student, but professors and others along the way. Though they were transitioning in life, they would always be the first nursing class of IU Fort Wayne, first to pilot courses, first to graduate under the concept-based curriculum, and first of their nursing kind to hit the clinical world in the coming months. The boy and his class could look back on the times that helped to shape them into who they are.

As one final challenge, the boy was tasked with preparing speech for pinning. Rather than try and create some original and mind-blowing speech, he chose to remind everyone of his dream; the dream he had to help make a difference in the world. How that dream led him to the world of nursing. How that dream helped him meet the amazing people he walked alongside and would work with in the coming future. As he finished off his speech, he challenged everyone to remember the dream that set them on their own path and led then where they were that day.

Of course, you can guess, the story of the boy is the story of me. As we celebrate today, I challenge every one of you to remember the dreams that set you on the path that brought you to this point in time. Your dreams don’t end because it is over. They only end because the dream is now reality. And with that, this has been my story, and this is now how it ends.

Amy Vail

Amy VailGood evening friends, family, faculty, and of course my class of fellow nurses (almost!). I am honored to have been chosen to address you today as your friend and someone who’s life has truly been changed by knowing all of you and by being a part of this program. For the last four years, we’ve had the privilege of being known as the first class of nurses that will graduate from IU School of Nursing Fort Wayne. We’ve worn our red scrubs, which stood out so predominantly against the sea of blue scrubs that it practically shouted, “I’m a student!” Everyone in our clinical sites asked about these scrubs and then we got to try to explain how yes, IPFW became Purdue Fort Wayne, but the nursing school is now IU when it was Purdue before, and they used to wear navy scrubs, and now we wear red scrubs…. And so on. We’ve had comments both good and bad about those bright red scrubs. And now, we get to retire them.

As the first graduating class of IUFW School of Nursing, we’ve been asked to give our feedback every step of the way, and we’ve heard more times than we can count, “We’ll make that change for the next class, thanks for your feedback.” To the classes that follow us, you’re welcome.

We’ve been encouraged, supported, corrected, and guided by our professors. We’ve had professors who’ve cheered us on as we struggle through the mountain of work that is nursing school, and we’ve had professors who have laughed and cried with us at every turn. (How you doin’ Dr. Hines? You have your tissues ready today??)

Most of us started out at the beginning of this journey as strangers. We sat in our Anatomy and Physiology lecture and looked around, trying to determine which students would be applying to the nursing program and with whom we would end up spending the next four years. We took the TEAS test, applied to the program, and thankfully, received the word that we were admitted. Then the fun began! We got to start learning nursing skills and how to assess our first (creepy looking) patients in the sim lab. How many of you remember thinking those Health Assessment tests were challenging? And NOW who wouldn’t like to go back and take one of those tests instead of the Critical Care tests from the fall?? Or take one of those tests instead of this big looming test coming up some of you may have heard of, the NCLEX?

But we grew as student nurses and as a class. We got to know each other and count on each other. Our sim manikins got a bit less creepy (or creepier, depending on how you look at it) when Mr. Wayne Fortier came on the scene. (And, as an aside, I have to say, I think our resident technology guy, Jeremy Kirkwood, may have missed his true calling because his acting skills were on point during sims.) But now, we’ve learned more than just the terms ‘ascites’ and how to assess for PERRLA and take blood pressures. We’ve learned to manage critically ill patients. We’ve learned to work with others to give our patients the best care possible. We’ve learned to read lab values and interpret what they mean for our patient. And we learned that we have what it takes to be a good nurse.

Everything we’ve done within this program has been defined by being a student, by being the first graduating class from this program, and, of course, by attending nursing school during a pandemic. But that’s about to change. My friends, we are ready. We have spent countless hours studying and preparing. We’ve taken exams, written care plans and papers, worked through many case studies, and despite Covid getting in the way of some our clinical experiences, we’ve still been fortunate and have had chances to provide hands-on care. We are ready. Ready to drop the word “student” from our title as student nurses and take on the role of a BSN-prepared registered nurse.

As newly graduated nurses, we may feel unsure of ourselves, we may feel nervous to begin something new, and we may feel underqualified. But may we never forget that we are completely qualified to offer our best to our patients.

Maya Angelou said “As a nurse we have the opportunity to heal the mind, soul, heart, and body of our patients. They may forget your name, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

This. This my friends, is what nursing is about. It’s about taking our critical thinking skills, our assessments, our understanding of pathophysiology, pharmacology, and all of the head knowledge we’ve learned these past four years and applying it to real people.

We are ready to go out into the nursing profession and make this type of difference.

One of my favorite quotes from Mother Teresa is this: “Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely, and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.”

Let us not be ashamed to do the humble work. Let us be a group of nurses that remembers what it feels like to be new at something and take that student nurse under our wings. Let us be a group of nurses that offers ourselves in a way that leaves everyone in our wake a little better than we found them. Hopefully, physically better, yes. But always better. I am proud to have journeyed alongside you all these last four years. I am proud to graduate with you as my peers and as my future colleagues in the nursing profession. To our family and friends, we are forever grateful for the sacrifices you made so that we could succeed. To our faculty and staff, thank you for believing in us. To my fellow nurses, let’s do this. Thank you!

Bachelor of Science in Nursing Graduates

Cayla J. Adams
Katelyn M. Bauer
Courtney R. Beer
Katelynn I. Berenyi
Miranda L. Berry
Brennan Q. Biddle
Shauna R. Bowser
Brooklyn A. Bradley
Brittany A. Brown
Cecilee N. Bruce
Ryan K. Burns
Hailey L. Collins
Candace L. Danz
Fallon N. Davis
Kelsey M. Diehl
Anna M. Doctor
Nicole E. Filosa
Deanna M. Foote
Zacharie M. Ford
Christine E. Glogowski
Avery L. Hile
Ronell P. Isley
Aimee R. Janssens
Taylor R. Kelley
Allysa N. Kimes
Rachelle I. Ladig
Jana M. Lange
Josephana Ma
Julia L. Martin
Taylor A. McBride
Morgan N. Melvin
Emily E. Miller
Kaylee N. Miller
Kylie J. Millhouse
Deirrien E. Moss
Amanda M. Mundy
Leah A. Nygaard
Innocent U. Odoh
Taylor Ritchie
Melisa Rizvic
Luis F. Rodriquez Perez
Sultana Saber
Mikayla D. Shawyer
Dena M. Short
Savannah G. Shuler
Charlie T. Silance
Krysta M. Skaggs
Grace Slone
Autumn T. Smith
Janae S. Sowles
Megan E. Steigerwald
Breanna M. Sterling
Briana R. Steury
Donavan D. Stone
Courtney R. Stouder
Hannah C. Summers
Samantha E. Swartz
Ashley E. Tubbs
Amy M. Vail
Marisa A. Wegner
Kiara T. Williams
Hailey M. Wisler
Jordan A. Yoder
Zachary I. Yoder
Congratulations graduates from Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry.