Category: School of Nursing
CHS Class of 2023 Spotlight: School of Nursing
May 25, 2023 Written by Amy Cherry | Photos by Ashley Barnas
We're honoring the Class of 2023 by shining the spotlight on some of the best and brightest graduates from the School of Nursing in the College of Health Sciences.
Kylie Jones | Accelerated Nursing Program
Three words to describe the UD CHS experience: Fast. Challenging. Fantastic
Kylie Jones had friends and family who went to the University of Delaware, who’ve said nothing but great things about their experiences. She got her undergraduate degree in exercise science at a small school in New Jersey but determined that wasn’t her calling.
She enrolled in UD’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. This past spring semester during clinicals, Jones developed a strong relationship with a patient over the course of two days, and it all clicked for her.
“I realized this was exactly where I was supposed to be,” she said.
The full-time, 17-month accelerated program that begins every Winter Session is demanding.
“The accelerated nursing program has definitely challenged me. I learned time management is key, especially since most of my classmates in the accelerated program all work too, so prioritizing is essential.”
But Jones handled the pressure well. She was the only student currently in the program to maintain a 4.0 GPA, which was news to her.
“I’m a big nerd,” she laughed. “I definitely put a lot of pressure on myself, and sometimes I need to take a breath, but it feels really good because I’ve worked really hard,” Jones said.
She maintained that perfect GPA while working part-time as a medical assistant at Brandywine Urology.
While at UD Jones didn’t have a lot of free time to join clubs or organizations, but she appreciated her transition of care hours and volunteering in the community.
“I spent a lot of time in nursing homes and senior centers giving blood pressure screenings, so I was able to extend what I learned into the community, which felt great to be able to give back to the community.
“We’re also so fortunate to be so close to Christiana Hospital,” Jones said. “I’ve had so many opportunities there, and I’ve had great patients throughout clinical.”
She also thanked UD’s faculty and instructors for their expertise and support.
“Instructors took the time to ask me whether I had thought about jobs and gave me that push off the ledge that I needed,” she said. “And they followed up. It shows you that they care about you while you’re in clinicals and class, but also that they care about what happens after school.”
After graduation, Jones plans to move out-of-state and aims to work in a hematology and oncology unit at a hospital.
Evelyn Reeder | Nursing Major
Three words to describe the UD CHS experience: Transformative. Affirming. Challenging
Evelyn Reeder is very particular about the weather. She loves the sunshine and summer. The day she toured UD was rainy and gray and absolutely “disgusting.” But none of that mattered.
“I was walking down Main Street, and there was just something about UD that I knew I would fit in when I went there. UD was the only school that made me feel that way,” she said.
She remembers the School of Nursing faculty being a deciding factor for her.
“They were a lot more personable than other places,” she said. “I felt like I would be more than just a student in a big room; I felt like I would actually be able to be myself at UD, and that was really important to me.”
She knew from middle school that a career in nursing was in her future. In the seventh grade, her father was hospitalized with a pulmonary embolism.
“I remember going to the hospital with my mom and seeing the nurses and how they cared for him, but also how they cared for my family, and that was something that was really important to me,” she said. “As I went into high school and entered UD’s nursing program, it just kept affirming over and over again that nursing was what I wanted to do.”
Now, Reeder’s life is coming full circle. Post-graduation, she’s accepted an offer for her “dream job.” She’ll be working in the intensive care unit at Suburban Hospital--the same hospital that treated her father--in Bethesda, Maryland. She’s worked for the Johns Hopkins Health System full-time over the past few summers and sporadically part-time over the school year. She had a rare opportunity as a student to experience working in a hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I came in after my sophomore year, so COVID was still pretty bad. We were barely back in school at UD, so seeing it first-hand was a lot, but it gave you context—you saw what everyone was talking about,” Reeder said.
A lot of the people hospitalized in her unit were elderly adults.
“Caring for them and hearing the stories of their lives was fascinating, and even though, they didn’t have a lot of visitors, we were their visitors, and that really brought comfort to them, so that just further solidified my career choice for me,” Reeder said.
While the faculty was a deciding factor for Reeder from day one, the honors nursing student would later learn just how incredible and instrumental the faculty at UD has been to her success.
“I love every single one of them. Being an honors student, I had one-on-one time with my professors, and they were great about helping me explore my interests and get me the experiences that would lead to the career I wanted,” she said. “They helped me achieve this dream, this career that I’ve wanted, and they’ve watched me grow as a student and then to land that dream job, they’re so proud of us.”
Starting sophomore year, Reeder was challenged to “think like a nurse.”
“That was a valuable mindset because as you get further in the program it gets easier to think that way,” she said.
She also appreciated her clinical rotation in the ICU stepdown unit and her preceptorship in the ICU.
“Not all schools will offer these opportunities because they’re harder units, and these patients are very ill, but UD gives you the opportunity as a student to learn about very sick patients in a safe way.”
These experiences culminated in inspiring her to become like the compassionate and empathetic nurses who helped her father survive his pulmonary embolism.
“Some of these patients, they don’t see their family; they don’t have visitors, and you can tell because when you’re with them, they want to keep telling you stories. I want to sit in their rooms with them when I have extra time,” she said. “I want to be the nurse who cares about a person beyond their hospital stay and looks at them as a human being.”
During her time at UD, Reeder was involved in the Christian Campus Ministry. She was also a teacher’s assistant in the School of Nursing’s lab department, working on simulations and in pharmacology.
“Those experiences have helped me grow my confidence,” Reeder said.
She also spent Winter Session 2023 abroad in the British Virgin Islands. She was one of the only seniors on the trip.
“I really enjoyed getting to know the junior nursing majors, and it gave me the opportunity to be the ‘older’ nurse in the group. I loved it. There was never a day that I didn’t love being there.”
As an honors student, Reeder had the opportunity to take part in the SON’s innovative virtual reality simulation and was constantly challenged.
“It was so much fun,” she said. “It was a new way to learn that I really liked; it felt more immersive,” she said. “Being in the honors program, I was academically challenged and challenged as a nurse in clinical and that’s shaped who I’ve become.”
She called her time at UD “transformative, challenging, and affirming.”
“I was so happy to come here as a freshman,” Reeder said. “Through everything, I just became more thankful. I had incredible professors; I had incredible clinical instructors; I had the chance to study abroad; I had all these opportunities that UD gave me, and it’s the reason I got the job that I’ve always dreamed of.”
Renee Rush | Nursing Major
Three words to describe the UD CHS experience: Exciting. Challenging. Transformative
Renee Rush has a family history of cancer that’s deeply affected her. She still remembers the names of the nurses who helped her family during these difficult times. From kind words to gentle touches, those nurses left an indelible mark on her heart.
“If I could have that effect on people--that they remember my name and think: ‘She really helped people at a vulnerable time,’ that would be unique and really special.”
Rush’s experiences directly inspired her to pursue a career in nursing. She chose the University of Delaware School of Nursing because she loved the suburban feel of the campus, and it wasn’t too far from her home in Abingdon, Maryland.
“I fell in love with Main Street and the look of the campus,” she recalled.
Early in her studies, Rush determined she wanted to be a nurse in the labor and delivery unit. That decision was affirmed after she had the opportunity to travel to the British Virgin Islands to study abroad during the 2022 Winter Session.
“That was the best experience of my life that UD gave me,” she said. “It was there I went on my first maternity rotation, and I got to see my first live birth. The first time I saw a birth, it made me tear up; it was such a beautiful and special moment. I love bringing new life into the world and seeing the joy on people’s faces.”
While in the room where it happens, Rush had the chance to check the baby’s heart rate and monitor the mom, even holding her hand during childbirth.
“I was in awe of the whole moment,” she said. “It really solidified for me that labor and delivery is the unit I want to work in.”
In addition to studying abroad, she pointed to UD’s Healthcare Theatre as a unique, interdisciplinary offering.
“The psychiatric simulation was so incredibly realistic,” she said. “It helps you develop the critical thinking skills that you can’t get from reading a textbook.”
She also appreciated the never-ending support she received from UD’s renowned expert faculty.
“They were so encouraging and kind,” Rush said. “I was never told I couldn’t do something. They gave me the confidence to know that I can do this and be successful.”
During her freshman year, Rush joined Gamma Sigma Sigma, the service sorority on campus. She also served on the executive board as the organization’s first diversity, equity, and inclusion officer.
“I met some of my best friends, and we do service projects together. It’s just so fun,” she said.
She also served as a leadership scholar for UD’s chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, the international honor society for nursing and helped raise money for UDance, the student-run philanthropic organization dedicated to fighting childhood cancer.
“Fighting cancer is something that’s really important to me, so to know I’m making a difference in someone’s life is rewarding.”
After commencement, Rush will be seeing a lot more live births. She’ll be working in labor and delivery at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
“I’m so excited to finally be in the field doing something that I love and am really passionate about,” she said.
Sean Rutor | Nursing Major
Three words to describe the UD CHS experience: Challenging. Fulfilling. Encouraging
Sean Rutor grew up in the Philippines, a one-minute walk from the beach. He moved to Delaware at age 12 and took with him his family’s philanthropic spirit.
“My family has always been open to being able to help people,” he said. “I remember seeing my grandfather open his house to take care of people taking care of people. It’s definitely something I’ve inherited, subconsciously.”
When it came time for college, Rutor only applied to one school – the University of Delaware.
“I chose UD because of its tight-knit community. I believed I could make it here, and this was the community I wanted to be in,” he said. “UD really encapsulates the Delaware community. It’s a place, where I can walk Main Street and know the owner of the local bagel shop, the pastor of the church I regularly volunteer at, and volunteers at the food bank.”
He enrolled at UD, initially as a neuroscience major with a focus on research but felt a calling to do more in service of others. He was volunteering at a nursing home in Wilmington when he realized his interest in nursing.
“I really love seeing patients and interacting with people,” he said.
He rose to the challenge and was one of just five people accepted into the UD School of Nursing as a second-year student.
“Ever since I’ve been loving it because I now get to make the difference that I knew I wanted to make when I made that switch,” he said. “It’s been wonderful; it’s been very fulfilling. I started off very shaky and unsure of myself, and this program has prepared me to interact with people and give them the best care they need.” He said clinicals have been the most rewarding part.
“The best days in my clinical experience are when I get to synthesize knowledge I learned in the classroom and in simulations,” he said. “It’s a really fulfilling experience when you combine that knowledge and apply it in a practice setting and be able to see those people that you’re taking care of get better.”
He also loves his interactions with patients and calls it a “privilege” to take care of them.
“I enjoy just being present at a time when patients are most vulnerable,” Rutor said. “When a patient asks, ‘Are you coming back tomorrow to be my nurse?’ or says, ‘I can’t wait to see you again.’ That’s the most wonderful feeling because it shows they entrust you with their lives.”
After commencement, Rutor will be employed full-time in Christiana Hospital’s emergency room department.
“I didn’t realize working in the trauma unit was a passion of mine until my most recent clinical rotation,” he said. “I love being in a fast-paced environment and love the challenge, but also I get to see different situations I can learn from – that’s how you best grow.”
“I organized blood drives on campus,” Rutor said. “We received between 200 and 300 donations this past year, and I’m really proud of our efforts to get the community to come together to help ease the blood shortage.”
He described his leadership role with the organization as rewarding.
“There’s a lot of people who put their trust in me,” he said. “I think it’s a privilege to be able to serve in a leadership role, and I try to continue to be a better leader every single day.”
Rutor has also used his experience emigrating to the U.S. to help others. Rutor works with Jewish Family Services on refugee integration services.
“We help Ukrainians and people from the Middle East, who unfortunately, have been persecuted or forced to move away from their home countries. We help them get back on their feet here in America, adjust to life here, and help them become independent,” he said. “Acclimating to the culture of America, it’s way different, and I think everybody comes in with different expectations, and those expectations in one way or another get shattered, and you must figure out a way to kind of meld the expectations with reality.
“It really mirrored the way I moved here. While I was not a refugee, I know how hard it can be to live here as a first-generation immigrant, and I know there are certain types of struggles that come with that, and I just wanted to make the transition a little bit easier for them.”
He called his time at UD “challenging, fulfilling, and encouraging” and is thankful for those who played a part in his education.
“It has definitely been a tough ride, but also exciting in so many ways,” Rutor said.” You never know where your next year will take you. Sometimes, opportunities present themselves to you, and I am so thankful for all of the opportunities I’ve been afforded at UD.”
Luke Stuchlik | Nursing Major
Three words to describe the UD CHS experience: Formative. Transitional. Grateful
For Luke Stuchlik, going to the University of Delaware was a family tradition. Both of his parents and his two brothers went to UD, so for him, it was a no-brainer.
In high school, Stuchlik was searching for a career where he could make a difference.
“I’m a people person, and I wanted to find a career where I could impact the lives of as many people as possible. That drew me to healthcare,” he said.
He toyed with physical therapy but found his true calling in nursing.
“It’s a really versatile degree, and I can always continue my education and do a lot of things with my bachelor’s degree.
After graduation, he’ll be working in the emergency department at Nemours Children’s Health. He worked at the pediatric hospital during his time at UD.
“I grew up in Wilmington, a mile away from Nemours so I know how good it is,” he said. “I was a patient there, and I understand the culture that they’ve built there, so I’m so grateful to start there.
“I like working with kids. I have a lot of passion towards them, and this combines my interest in critical medicine, so it’s a really good spot for me.”
During his time at UD, the honors nursing student appreciated the relationships he’s built with professors.
“Their experience and their credibility made a difference,” he said. “There were a handful of professors who took that extra time to help me; they went above and beyond to set me up with a part-time job at Christiana or Nemours or wrote me letters of recommendation so I could get the job I was going for, so I’m grateful for that.”
He worked at the front desk at the Lil’ Bob all four years and is also grateful for the lifelong friendships he’s forged.
“I’m super grateful for the people I have in my life. The friends I’ve made along the way, some of them are lifers for sure, and wherever we go, we’ll continue to be friends.”
As he’s about to graduate, the privilege of going to college isn’t lost on him.
“Not everyone gets a chance to go to college. I took my own way; my parents had to help a lot, but I also had to do a lot on my own, and it’s something I don’t want to take for granted,” he said. “I grew up a lot over these last four years, and now I’m ready to grow up a little bit more. I’m ready to take that next step.”
CHS Class of 2023 Convocation Video
The top graduates across departments in the College of Health Sciences class of 2023 share their memories and what had a lasting impact on their time at the University of Delaware.
2023 CHS Senior Video: youtube.com/watch?v=zLwMSPqwllo