ELLEN GRUWELL, Rn-BSN 2005 & MSN Leadership 2008
"Education rekindled my passion for nursing and reinforced the importance of evidence-based practice as the foundation for patient care."
Pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing was an idea I had contemplated for some time. I investigated several programs and even received application materials in the mail. However, one day at work, in 2002, I saw a flyer posted on a bulletin board that grabbed my attention. It was a notice advertising the RN-BSN distance education program offered through Cal State Fullerton. Classes would meet one day a week on the hospital campus over a period of 2 ½ years. I was thrilled, for the program was exactly what I was looking for! Not only was the format designed for the working RN, but there was also was something to be said about beginning the journey with a group of my friends. In 2005, we became the first cohort from my hospital to graduate.
What I discovered in the undergraduate program was the magnitude of the nurse’s professional role. Education rekindled my passion for nursing and reinforced the importance of evidence-based practice as the foundation for patient care. Faculty members provided guidance and support every step of the way. It was their influence that changed my worldview and factored into my decision to enter the graduate Nursing Leadership Program. In 2008, I obtained my MSN with the idea of entering academia. Advised to go even further, I would ultimately pursue my PhD.
I was blessed with professors who encouraged intellectual discourse, curiosity, and professional growth. It has been inspirational to witness career achievements of my peers in the clinical, educational, and management settings. None of this would have been possible without taking the first step, making the first decision and listening to that still, quiet voice within.
RINNA HARPER, MSN LEADERSHIP 2016
“ANYONE CAN BE A LEADER, BUT TO BE EXCELLENT AT IT AND TRANSFORMATIONAL TO EVERYONE AROUND YOU IS A WHOLE DIFFERENT BALLGAME.”
Rinna Harper dreamed of being a Titan and now she is. Most of Rinna’s friends and co-workers have come to CSUF’s School of Nursing to obtain their degrees and she finds them to be the most knowledgeable and caring nurses she has ever met. Inspired, Rinna returned to school in pursuit of her Masters of Science in Nursing with a concentration in Leadership. Rinna speaks positively of her experiences with the School of Nursing where she has developed lifelong friendships with her classmates, worked with and been educated by the excellent instructors, and been guided by supportive staff members. Rinna completed the program with hard work and perseverance, she was honored to be asked to deliver the MSN Commencement speech, and she was the recipient of the Collegiality Award.
ANDREA BRYCSAK, RN-BSN 2016
Andrea Brycsak graduated from California State University, Fullerton’s RN-BSN program in the spring of 2016. Speaking of her time in the program, Andrea contributes much of her success to the immeasurable delivery of education, support, and professionalism provided by the School of Nursing faculty. She cites Dr. Elaine Rutkowski as being the most influential person to her journey, someone whose attributes include professionalism, poise, beauty, and grace. Beyond the classroom, where she felt supported and respected by the most humble and professional faculty, Andrea was always encouraged to strive for more; utilizing the tools and resources learned from the RN-BSN program she has embodied the characteristics she most admired in her nursing instructors and embraced a new attitude which she has brought to her role as a RN in order to serve the public with grace. Despite the challenging atmosphere of the classroom where the faculty had set the bar high, Andrea felt privileged to attend classes and work to not only meet but exceed expectations. Andrea’s future ambitions include working in the field of Obstetrics and returning to the CSUF campus to complete a master’s degree in education.
Maryia Mashketava, LVN-BSN 2016
When Maryia Mashketeva’s mother was diagnosed with cancer she realized that her educational path wasn’t right for her any longer. She was missing an important sense of fulfillment in her life. Having been inspired by the care and thoughtfulness of the nurses whom she encountered during her mother's treatment, Maryia switched career paths and decided to become a nurse.
Maryia desires to become the kind of nurse that goes above and beyond their duties to care for patients, treating them with the utmost respect, and making them feel special, unique, and important. Maryia plans to eventually continue her education and earn her Master’s in Nursing while contributing to the growing nursing profession utilizing her passion for research and helping others. Maryia is thankful for the opportunities she has been afforded at Cal State Fullerton and she is excited to dedicate her life to the nursing profession.
Ruben Macias graduated from California State University, Fullerton's Entry-Level BSN Program in 2011. He has since earned a master’s degree in epidemiology from Columbia University and has worked at a number of world-class institutions including the UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, NYU Langone Medical Center, and Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Ruben began his nursing career as an RN on the pediatrics floor and has spent most of his time in the pediatric CTICU since; he has recently returned to academia and is working on another master’s degree, this time from the USC Keck School of Medicine, in nursing anesthesia.