Posted on May 21, 2013

USF Nursing alum sacrifices to help LLC students achieve success

USF Nursing alum sacrifices to help LLC students achieve success

University of South Florida College of Nursing alum, Sarah Jo Spears, helped Pre-Nursing Living Learning Community (LLC) students achieve their dreams while accomplishing hers. Spears, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Nursing in spring 2013, tutored LLC students for two years while working on her degree at USF.

“I wanted to help the students navigate through the obstacles that came their way during their first year of college,” Spears said. “Above all, I feel like this position helped me hone my patient teaching skills, which is very valuable as a nurse.”

USF Nursing alum sacrifices to help LLC students achieve success
(Left to Right). USF pre-nursing LLC students, Taylor Corlett, Samantha Couture, Melanie Penman, USF Nursing alum, Sarah Jo Spears, Mary-Bennett Bracalente , Codie Fraley, Jordan Thorp, Caitlin Smith, and Katherine Langlais. The picture was taken during a small get-together organized by LLC students in honor of Spears and her dedication to pre-nursing students. 

As a tutor, Spears helped students learn how to study, in addition to teaching them good study habits. Spears was also the go-to-person for other subjects and a resource for general questions on admission tips, clinicals, and even College life.

“Anatomy is really another language and the biggest hurdle is learning how to study it…for example, I taught them to focus on concepts rather than rote memorization,” Spears said. “I just wanted to be a resource for the students, and be someone they could go to for any questions.”

USF Nursing alum sacrifices to help LLC students achieve success
USF Nursing alum, Sarah Jo Spears 

“Spears has been such a great tutor for two years in the pre-nursing LLC,” said USF College of Nursing Academic Advisor for Pre-Nursing Freshman, Astride Edouard. “Students have really appreciated her knowledge and dedication in tutoring them. There were several students within the two years that would come into USF confused with Nursing courses, but Spears really helped them learn the material and gain a better study habit. She will truly be missed by pre-nursing LLC.”

USF Nursing undergraduate student, Kyla Hoffer, said Spears was not only an amazing tutor, but also a great friend to everyone. “She did her job wonderfully making difficult topics easy to understand,” Hoffer said. “She taught us how to study and always reassured us that we could do well if we worked hard. As the new tutor for the fall, I have a lot to live up to, but an amazing example to follow. I only hope to emulate her job well done and her great spirit.”

Throughout her education at USF Nursing, Spears stayed involved in the local community doing more than 40 hours of volunteer work. In the past two years, she has been on five medical mission trips abroad including Panama, Jamaica, and Nicaragua, Honduras, and Dominican Republic.

“Service really is my passion and the reason I went into the field of nursing,” Spears said. “I believe that is the duty of medical professionals to devote their lives to the less fortunate and to do their best to provide care to all people. I am also a member of Grace Bible Church of Tampa for nearly three years where I volunteer. My faith is really what guides me as a nurse. I believe that God cares for the oppressed, poor and downtrodden, and, therefore, so should I.”

Before Spears graduated, she was one of the only 26 students of spring 2013 graduating class to receive the Undergraduate Scholars Award from USF. She also received the USF College of Nursing’s Service Award, and graduated Cum Laude from the Honors College. Spears is spending three weeks this summer studying abroad in London, England where she is studying infectious diseases and medical anthropology.

For related stories on Sarah Jo Spears click here.