There is a feeling that arises when you help another human being – whether it’s helping someone heal or simply eliciting a smile.
That’s why Kimberly Walker wants to become a nurse and, someday, a midwife.
“It’s the feeling I get from helping people. It makes me warm inside to know I made someone’s day better,” reflected the Health Studies major, now in her second year.
A native of New York City, Kimberly didn’t consider herself college material during her high school days. Drawn to nursing since the age of 16, she became a certified nursing assistant (CNA) through the federal Job Corps program and spent 10 months working at a Brooklyn nursing home.
“Working in a nursing home definitely changed me. They’re like us, even if they’re frail. When you look at them and hear their stories, it makes you humble and more patient and caring,” she reflected.
While in Job Corps, she had instructors and mentors who encouraged her to pursue her dream of nursing. Her best friend at the time also came up with a plan: the two would attend college together.
Kimberly began researching her college options, and found SUNY Broome. “I was living in the city and I knew I wanted to go away to college. I decided I wanted to be more focused,” she explained. “Since I’ve been here, I’ve met a lot of people – a lot of faculty and staff who mentored me.”
That campus support proved immensely beneficial – especially since her friend didn’t accompany Kimberly to SUNY Broome.
“They’re there for me, and they’re willing to help me out from giving me a ride to help studying,” she said of the SUNY Broome community. “There’s one woman I met on campus who is so sweet; I had Thanksgiving with her and her family. I made family out here.”
Currently, Kimberly is taking classes in anatomy and physiology, bioorganic chemistry, human development and sociology – and succeeding. Favorite professors include Diane Kelly in biology, Dr. Frederick Johnson in chemistry and Dr. Thomas Crandall in human development.
For her next step, Kimberly will apply to SUNY Broome’s Nursing program and then enter the field while working on her bachelor’s degree and then a master’s in midwifery. Once she reaches that goal, her healthcare career will span the wide range of human experience – from those nearing the end of life in the nursing home where she had her start, to newborns in a maternity ward.
That broad spectrum of experience is part of the beauty and depth of healthcare, the ultimate career in caring.
A college education has similar layers of meaning – providing not only the tools to master a future career path, but uncovering abilities and potentials previously unimagined. Like many community college students, Kimberly Walker is first generation – meaning that she is among the first in her family to pursue higher education, and open new doors to opportunity.
“I’m proud of myself. I never thought that I would be doing well in college,” she said. “My first semester, I got on the President’s List. Here I am, doing it!”