Posted on Aug 15, 2016

Nursing student defies odds to receive nursing degree [VIDEO]

Kimberly Tavares never gave up. Despite her endless challenges, she kept going. Even when things got tough, she focused. Becoming a nurse was her only goal.

“My personal and family struggles weren’t going to stop me,” Tavares said. “Excuses were never an option.”

Her persistence paid off. She completed her bachelor’s degree in nursing and minor in Spanish in Aug. 2016 at the top of her class.

“This is everything that I’ve ever dreamed of,” Tavares said. “I am thankful to everyone at the College of Nursing and USF who helped me along the way and inspired me to keep going and never give up. It was all worth it.”

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Tavares never thought she’d graduate. Growing up, she faced many personal and family challenges. But she never let those problems affect her.

“The family troubles and disturbances I endured did not hinder me nor did they hold me back, but rather, inspired me to make something greater for myself,” Tavares said.

As a student, Tavares stayed involved at USF and in the community. She was involved in the Stampede into Bull Nursing (SIBN), USF Nursing Student Council, Florida Nurses Student Association, world languages department, and other organizations on campus. She also helped collect food and deliver bears to sick children at local hospitals during the holidays.

Kimberly Tavares_Bears

While holding a full-time position at Publix, she also worked as a global affairs student assistant with USF Nursing’s Connie Visovsky, PhD, associate dean of faculty affairs and diversity. Tavares said staying involved on and off campus made her a better student and a much better person.

“USF has taught me not to reach for the stars, but beyond them,” Tavares said. “I walk through this beautiful campus with my head held high reminiscing about how far I’ve come and what the university has helped me accomplish-personally, academically and professionally.”

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Story by Vjollca Hysenlika
Video by Vjollca Hysenlika & Ryan Noone