Renee Laurencelle ’15 of Tyngsboro is a nursing major whose interest in health has extended to running: as a Corsair on the cross country team and as one of UMass Dartmouth’s representatives with “Run for Krystle” in the Boston Marathon.
The Honors student plans a career in nursing with a focus on the prevention of childhood obesity.
Tell us about your experience as a runner and in running the Boston Marathon.
I started running track in middle school and high school as something to do after school with my friends. When I got to college I was encouraged by Katie Sheehan, a fellow nursing major, to come to cross country practice and join the team. I gave it a shot, and I’m so glad I did! The cross country runners have been my family at school. We’ve created a bond running together every day.
Running for Krystle has been phenomenal. Every aspect from training to raising money to the Boston Marathon has been the best experience I’ve ever had. I’m extremely grateful that I was able to do it for a second time.
I love running distance, so training has been wonderful and very enjoyable. Through fundraising, I’ve been able to meet many people and see the community come together. I always get excited when I see someone wearing a Run for Krystle t-shirt; it’s great to see all the support! Trustee Campbell and his family are so generous and I’m happy I’m able to help them with this cause.
Why did you decide to major in nursing?
I’ve always been fascinated with health and learning about the processes that keep the body functioning. I chose nursing because it pairs together health and caring for people. It’s wonderful to be able to help people in such a unique way and hopefully bring some light to their lives when they’re ill. My cousin is a nurse and loves her job so much that I thought it might be the career for me too.
I’ve had a wonderful experience with the faculty here in the College of Nursing. All of the professors I’ve had make an effort to get to know the students and help them in any way they can. Whenever I’ve needed something, whether it was school related or just to talk, I’ve had someone to go to. I really appreciate how passionate they are about nursing. It’s easy to see they all love nursing and what they’re teaching, which rubs off onto the students.
Can you describe a memorable clinical experience?
I had a great clinical this year. Professor Viveiros really kept us on our toes with knowing all the lab values and knowledge of the medications. I was able to learn about EKG patterns and viewed different x-rays. I felt like I had a lot of autonomy during the shift, like a real nurse.
You also volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. What’s that been like?
Through Habitat for Humanity, I’ve made friends and together we’ve done some great things. We volunteer in the community during the semester, and over spring break, we build houses with a Habitat in another state.
My first three years we went to North Carolina, and this year we went to Kentucky. When we work on a house, we learn skills that can help us throughout our lives, but the best part is when we get to meet the family we’re helping out.
In addition to their full-time jobs and taking care of their children, the people who apply for these houses have to put in 100 hours of work with Habitat. It’s inspiring to see all that they can do.
What are your plans following graduation?
I’m going to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses exam and then go back to school for nutrition. My dream job would be preventing obesity in children.