Nursing Nets Two Honor-a-Bull Vet Awards
Two USF College of Nursing students in the V-CARE program have received an Honor-a-Bull award, recognizing their exceptional academic and community accomplishments as student veterans.
The student achievement awards are given each year during a week of Veterans Day celebrations organized by the USF Office of Veteran Success.
Nursing students James Nickson and Marianna O’Brien received the honors during an awards ceremony at the Marshall Student Center Amphitheatre on Nov. 13.
“The purpose of this particular event is to recognize the high-performing student veterans who have demonstrated success on our campus, both academically and professionally,” said Larry Braue, director of the Office of Veteran Success. “These special individuals put their lives and their education on hold so they could serve our nation in the military. Now they are highly successful students at USF preparing to begin a new post-service career.”
Nickson received the health sciences award. He will graduate next month from the college’s V-CARE program, which allows Army and Air Force medics and Navy corpsmen to transition into a nursing career by offering credit for military training and education.
Nickson said when he found out he won, he was in disbelief.
“With so many veterans attending USF, to be nominated and selected for an Honor-a-Bull award is surprising and rewarding. It’s an honor and a privilege to receive the award as a USF Bull Nurse, and I’m thankful for those who felt I should be nominated,” he said.
Nickson joined the Navy where he was a hospital corpsman and a surgical technologist. He served for more than seven years and is currently enlisted in the reserves.
Nursing undergraduate admissions advisor Ashley Ros nominated Nickson for the award. She said Nickson has become a valuable member of the college’s Bull Nurse Admissions Team, a group of student volunteers who work with prospective students on the admissions process.
Ros added that she has seen his leadership and critical thinking skills grow in the volunteer role.
“James is always encouraging students to never give up. He has a humble spirit and wants to help others succeed,” she wrote. “I am so incredibly proud of him and the impact he’s made on prospective veteran students interested in the College of Nursing.”
O’Brien, who is graduating next month as well, received the USAA Veteran of the Year award. She said she’s proud to be a Bull Nurse and feels humbled to be chosen for the recognition.
“It’s definitely an honor to be recognized as someone who is working hard to be successful not only in school, but both in the civilian and the military sector. I absolutely love how USF goes above and beyond to help and support their student veterans,” she said.
College of Nursing associate professor Alicia Rossiter, DNP, FNP, PPCNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN, nominated O’Brien for the award and praised O’Brien for her leadership and volunteer roles in her V-CARE cohort.
O’Brien serves as class president, is actively serving in the New York Air National Guard, and finds time to be a volunteer sponsor for incoming nursing student veterans.
Outside the classroom, she was chosen to be a student leader at the Planetree International Conference of Person-Centered Care. In April, she was named one of 19 fellows in the annual USF Daveler Pitch Competition for her innovative concept of a new venipuncture arm for use during simulated training. And O’Brien was the inaugural recipient of the prestigious Eileen M. Bonner Scholarship, an award sponsored by the Reserve Officer Association.
Story by Elizabeth L. Brown, USF College of Nursing