Completing a college degree was indeed a daunting endeavor for Amanda Webb of Indianapolis. However, she never wavered in her goal to earn her degree as a registered nurse. As a result of her hard work and determination, the American Council on Education (ACE) named this recent Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College graduate, the 2019 Student of the Year.
The award is presented annually to an adult student, who benefitted from ACE credit recommendations for workforce or military training. Recipients must demonstrate outstanding achievements in their community or workplace while successfully balancing the demands of family, career and education. In addition, Webb will receive a $1,000 scholarship to fund her continued education.
Throughout this balancing act, Webb persevered through many challenging situations. She juggled three jobs in the healthcare field, managed single motherhood and began her studies at several different institutions.
When asked to describe her motivation Webb said, “I was driven for a multitude of reasons, but first and foremost, for my son.”
With graduation finally in sight, she was faced with yet another challenge. Harrison College had unexpectedly closed. Discouraged and disheartened, she nearly ended her educational pursuit. However, with prayer and the unwavering support of her new husband, she made a commitment to transfer to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.
“From a small meeting in downtown Indianapolis for Harrison students to the first visit, I felt welcomed and the school cared about my education. The registrar’s office and nursing staff went above and beyond to accept ALL of my transfer credits and the financial aid office helped to make it affordable. These two things alone showed me how much this institution cared about me and my peers’ success.”
Her commitment entailed commuting three days a week to campus, which was a three-hour round trip undertaking. She completed her clinical rotations, the ACE credit requirements and 18 credit hours at SMWC.
“I wanted more than anything to be a nurse and I was determined to make it. I had to go down to two jobs at this point and juggle more moving parts than I thought possible, but I made it happen.”
Webb credits the faculty and staff for their assistance in her journey. Multiple scheduling changes were made for her clinical site placements and capstone project to accommodate work and home life. She explained the labs and hands-on teaching were great, and the faculty were always accessible to discuss assignments or answer questions.
“Dr. Marcia Miller, the chair of the nursing department, became a mentor and cheerleader. She also made sure we had what we needed for success such as Uworld memberships, ATI books, etc. I talk to coworkers now who didn’t get access to these resources (at other institutions), so I am very grateful. All in all, every faculty member went above and beyond throughout my entire experience here at SMWC.”
In December 2019, Webb graduated and has since passed state boards and accepted a position as a registered nurse at Franciscan Health Indianapolis in the emergency department.
“I have been through a lot, and I just wanted to show myself that I could become an RN. It was always my dream. I thank God every day for never giving up on me or letting me give up on myself.”
After the birth of her second child in August, Webb plans to pursue her master’s degree in nursing with a family nurse practitioner concentration at The Woods. “I will never, and I mean NEVER, be able to give back to SMWC what they gave me. People think I am crazy to commute again, but I wouldn’t go anywhere else after my experience as an undergrad.”