First-generation college student has excelled in academics and leadership and is grateful for the "village" of supporters who played a role in her success
A first-generation college student, Stephanie Teixeira '22 will graduate from the College of Nursing & Health Sciences with a 3.78 GPA and magna cum laude honors. A local student from New Bedford, MA, she has served as a resident assistant, orientation leader, and a Diversity Nursing Scholar. After graduating from UMass Dartmouth, Teixeira plans to remain close to her community and work in an acute care setting in either a medical-surgical or telemetry unit.
"The best leaders I’ve seen lead in service and by example. What motivated and drew me to become an orientation leader, orientation coordinator, and a resident assistant was the opportunity to give back and invest in the next person in line. Seeing others flourish because of something you said or did is one of the best rewards a person can receive. I am fortunate to say that, through these amazing opportunities, I have seen myself develop, grow, and be challenged to be better in a way I never imagined possible."
What drew you to nursing? Why did you choose this major?
Growing up in a Cape Verdean, working-class immigrant family greatly influenced my life experiences from an early age. I saw how our socioeconomic status greatly influenced health. My passion for nursing grew from the interactions my family and I had with nurses through the years. They were advocates who acted as a bridge towards health equity for us. When my mother struggled to communicate the acute health conditions of her children due a language barrier in late-night ER visits, nurses listened beyond words. They assessed, advocated, and implemented interventions. They served as our safety net, and I hope to do the same for individuals and families for years to come.
What did you do in your clinical experiences?
I have had the privilege of working with diverse populations in a variety of acute care settings including maternity, labor & delivery, pediatrics, psychiatrics, adult medical-surgical, and community/public health settings. My clinical nursing experience has allowed me to critically analyze and apply the nursing process in my care of patients. I have incorporated knowledge of the natural, biological, and physiological processes into assessing and collecting patient data. This process has allowed me to plan and implement evidence-based interventions in real time.
How will these experiences prepare you for your career post-graduation?
As time has gone on, I have seen classroom content continuously prepare me for real-world nursing applications at the bedside and in the community. My clinical and classroom experiences have built the foundation for my career. Engaging in and outside the classroom have further developed my skills in communication, problem solving, leadership, networking, and service.
I feel confident that my education at UMassD has built a strong foundation for my nursing career. I would recommend UMassD to any future student because of the many enriching opportunities I have had in and outside the classroom.
Were you awarded any scholarships or fellowships?
This year I was awarded the Leo R. and Muriel A. Lanouette Scholarship from the Southcoast Community Foundation and the Jeanne Castonguay Violette Memorial Scholarship from UMassD. Due to these scholarships, this was the first time in my college career that my semester’s tuition and fees were paid in full. I did not have to take out any additional loans for my senior year of nursing school.
Why did you choose to attend UMassD? How was your experience overall and in the nursing program?
My experiences in the nursing program have shaped my critical thinking skills and bedside manner and built the nursing foundation for my career. Countless staff and faculty in and out of nursing have been supportive through some of the toughest times of my college career.
The saying that it takes a village to raise a child has rung so true for me. It has taken a village of supporters (family, friends, mentors) to get me to this point. An abundance of people took the time to invest in my success when I had nothing to offer in exchange. I am who I am because of them. At some of the most challenging seasons, my faith and family have strengthened me to continue.
I chose to attend UMassD because I wanted to pursue an education locally, where I could build my roots in my community and remain a support to my family. My overall experience at UMassD has been a positive one that I will miss for years to come. The relationships that I have built with friends, staff, and faculty are priceless.