Jordin Jones ‘19 did what was necessary to earn her degree by working in USI’s Financial Aid Office, tutoring middle school and first graders, and helping USI’s Biology Department set up and tear down labs for the Botany, Principles of Biology, and Plant Systematics classes, as well as taking care of the Biology Department’s greenhouse. She received an associate degree at a community college and came to USI to major in biology, but changed to a teacher education major with a focus in biology. The switch expanded her career opportunities as she could seek positions in both medical and teaching fields. “USI really helped me figure out who I was and what I wanted in life,” she said. “The situations and hard times I dealt with during my time at USI pushed me to my absolute limits. I know that I can handle whatever life throws at me because of this.”×
Katelyn Earl always knew she wanted to be a Screaming Eagle. “I’m from Carmi, Illinois, and my family and I would always come to Evansville to go shopping, and I always used to say, ‘One day I’m going to go to USI,’” she says. After touring USI’s beautiful campus in the midst of narrowing down her college search, Katelyn knew immediately the search was over the minute she stepped onto Screaming Eagles territory. “Being able to see the campus in person and in full-bloom, and not just from the road driving in the car, really opened my eyes and showed me this is where I belong,” she says. “The Climbing Center was also a huge deciding factor for me. In Carmi, you never get to experience things like that.”
She was inspired by her father to pursue a degree in radiologic technology and imaging sciences. Her father, a Vietnam veteran, has seen his fair share of doctors’ offices, and Katelyn has always been there to support him through his battles. She noticed that some of the hospitals and doctors’ offices her father frequented were not giving the top-quality care people, especially veterans, deserved. “It pushed me to want to become a better practitioner for people like my dad, who have served our country, and for people who are not veterans,” she explains. “People in general deserve better care.”
Throughout her four years at USI, Katelyn has taken on a strenuous classwork load, and put in countless clinical hours, all while working three jobs – she works in St. Vincent’s Nuclear Medicine Department, at the RFWC’s Climbing Center and at Deaconess as an x-ray and CT aide. “I’m excited to graduate and hopefully go from three jobs to one,” she laughs.
Although going from three jobs to one will take a heavy load off her shoulders, Katelyn knows she’ll miss the busy lifestyle of being a college student. She’s even thinking about asking her boss at the Climbing Center if they’ll keep her around a little longer.×
Jacksonville, Florida resident Richard Weaver has been a student his whole life. It began with his learning the meaning of hard work from his mother, who worked two jobs in order to raise her children, and continued as he learned about sportsmanship from his high school football coaches. He learned about brotherhood as an Army medic and he learned compassion, as a licensed practical nurse, working at Jacksonville’s University Medical Center, which serves a large homeless and indigent population. “That was hard work, you not only had a high nurse/patient ratio, but you were dealing with mental health needs, drugs and AIDS. That experience really shaped me into the nurse I am today.”
After completing his RN, he believed he could do more for underserved populations by teaching other young nurses how to treat vulnerable patients. He looked at USI’s Master of Science in Nursing program, based on a recommendation from a preceptor who was enrolled. Weaver looked at the program’s website and saw that the goals and strategies aligned with his. Being ranked 28th Best Online Nursing Program according U.S. News and Word Reports convinced him USI was the perfect fit. He found mentors in Dr. Melissa Hall, Graduate Chair of Nursing Program, and Dr. C. Elizabeth Bonham, associate professor of Nursing, and was determined to not only complete his master’s but his doctorate as well. As an academic, he looks forward to working with graduate students and encouraging them to work hard and not settle for anything ordinary. “My education at USI has really been an extraordinary experience.”