Hailing from Davidson, N.C., Michael Barry ’07 A&S is used to being far from home. After graduating from Villanova University, he devoted the year 2008 to being an Augustinian volunteer in Durban, South Africa. Barry taught at a primary school and worked at a boys’ home and with an HIV/AIDS respite unit, where he was inspired by the compassion and unconditional love of the unit’s caregivers. His support role there brought him a sense of fulfillment.
Barry credits volunteering, plus internships and a variety of job experiences, for giving him the clarity and the strong sense of purpose he needed to choose nursing as his new career path. Reinforcing Barry’s decision to become a nurse was his desire for a challenging and multi-faceted career, one that is constantly evolving and enables him directly to improve the lives of others. He notes “I’m using my experiences from abroad to shape my education and path in nursing. When you have such diversity in backgrounds and insight, from international volunteers to business professionals, everyone benefits.”
Having earned his bachelor’s degree in geography with an environmental studies concentration at Villanova, Barry knew that when he came back at age 26 he could expect the same, high-quality education he experienced the first time around. He enrolled as a second-degree student in the College of Nursing’s accelerated B.S.N. program. Part of the attraction in returning, he notes, was the University’s mission and community involvement, which he felt was well reflected in the faculty and the endless opportunities for Nursing students.
Although there is always room for growth, Barry believes that wisdom and maturity are two of the greatest qualities of adult learners. Certain of his decision, he emphasizes that it was not made on a whim—it was a culmination of years of self-discovery, thought and determination to make a difference. Volunteering abroad has enabled him to understand and embrace cross-cultural differences. His career goals are in line with his past experiences: He plans to use his new nursing skills around the world in various capacities, whether in short-term medical relief or long-term public health education.