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WGU Graduate Speaker, Karen Marchand-Singleton, Winter 2012

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WGU Graduate Speaker, Karen Marchand-Singleton, Winter 2012
Western Governors University
<p>Earning her nursing degree online was scary for Karen Marchand-Singleton, a self-described "older student" from Beaufort, South Carolina. But with the help of "angels among us," including her husband and her Western Governors University mentor, Karen succeeded and now has her BSN, thanks to the online nursing college at WGU. She shared her inspiring story at WGU's February 2012 commencement in Atlanta.</p> <p>Karen Marchand-Singleton earned her Bachelor of Science, Nursing degree.</p> <p>Transcription of video:</p> <p>Good morning everyone. Dr. Mendenhall, esteemed faculty, mentors, and fellow graduates, but last and certainly not least, invited family and friends, I'm honored to be able to spend a few moments with you today to tell you why I believe that there are angels among us.</p> <p>I always knew I wanted to be a nurse. I just didn't know how I was going to make that happen. I hoped and prayed that someone would show me the way. In 1979 I became pregnant with my second child, and I became gravely ill. I was confined to bedrest in a hospital for the next seven months. I only had a high school diploma and no real job skills. So how was I going to support my children? While lying in my hospital bed an angel, a nurse, working on the unit befriended me and told me about a one-year LPN program at the local technical school.</p> <p>We talked regularly and she promised that she would help me get all of the paperwork done. Now, you have to remember this is 1979 and there were no portable cell phones, no fax machines, none of the great stuff we've got today. So she couried my paperwork back and forth between the hospital and the school.</p> <p>My daughter was born two months early, weighed only two pounds and I was terrified, but watching those nurses in the pediatric intensive care unit and the nurses who cared for me, let me know that nursing would be the right choice. I was worried though, how was I going to pay for this? I wanted this education desperately. Fortunately, there was a stipend program and while my daughter was still in the hospital, I learned that I was also accepted to the nursing program. She came home exactly one day before classes started.</p> <p>While I was in school for my LPN certificate, I met another angel, the man who would become my husband, who happened to be interning at the same hospital where I was doing my clinical rotation. Throughout the rest of my LPN training, my subsequent return to school for an associate degree, and now, my bachelor's degree, he has been my staunchest supporter. He has cheered me on every time that I wanted to give up. He continues to encourage me to not stop now, but to continue to push forward until I am satisfied that I have achieved my goals and dreams.</p> <p>When I was looking for a BSN program, I searched for programs that would give me a quality education and also one that I could comfortably afford. I often tease my husband, "I'll have to work until I'm 90 in order to pay for this education." But thankfully, in my search I found that there was a school founded by 19 governors who got together and looked for teachers, nurses, other professionals who wanted an education, one that they could afford. They looked at the cost of education and encouraged men and women to move at their own pace to accomplish this educational dream. Western Governors was everything I wanted in a school and more. It almost sounded too good to be true.</p> <p>I further learned that those governors and the men and women that make up the faculty and mentor staff of WGU really understand the value of mentorship. During my two years at WGU, the value of a great mentor was reinforced many, many, many times.</p> <p>Early in 2011, a visit to my doctor found that she thought I had breast cancer. My mentor at that time was Cassie Foote, was extremely understanding and kind, but more importantly, she reminded me that I was part of a school that was flexible and could work with whatever situation came up. She helped me to remember to take one test at a time, so that I did not become overwhelmed. Cassie kept saying, "Karen, calm down, you can do this." So even when I failed my math assessment, not once, but multiple times, she kept saying, "Trust me, you can do this." She offered me the help and support that I needed. And Cassie, I know you're here and I thank you so much for all of your help and support.</p> <p>In the summer of 2011, I could finally see the end of the light of the tunnel. I was down to my last couple of tests. I also got the great news that after multiple biopsies, countless doctors' visits, it was finally confirmed that I did not have cancer. [Applause] Thank you.</p> <p>As I was winding things up all ready to go that August, my father, my other staunchest supporter, passed away. Today marks exactly six months to the day that my father died. So regaining focus to complete my education at that point was really hard. But that's when once again, Cassie Foote stepped in. She stayed right by my side. There were multiple cards, emails, phone calls every day, every week, just to make sure that I kept my focus. She kept saying once again, "The goal's in sight."</p> <p>I thought it was done. Well, then in September, I had to have spinal surgery. One test left to go and there was Cassie still calling, still right by my side. So on October 17th, I got a card in my WGU mailbox that said, "Congratulations, you did it." The elation that I felt at that moment was almost indescribable. It is just shy of the emotions that I feel right now.</p> <p>In closing, I want to give a heartfelt thank you to the administration, the faculty, the mentors, and all the other WGU staff for putting the needs of us, the students, first. Yes, I do believe that there are angels among us, those would nurture us, guide us, and help us fulfill our dreams. And many of them, I believe work right here at Western Governors University. Thank you.</p> <p>[Applause]</p>
Western Governors University
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Original Format: 
Commencement Video
Digital Format: 
MP4 (Moving Picture Experts Group)