India Miller wants to save lives. “Nursing is the right path for me because it will allow me to build strong relationships with patients and focus on their overall well-being,” explains the freshman from New Orleans. Even in a pandemic? “The COVID-19 outbreak did not steer me away from pursuing a career in nursing. It made me more eager to begin learning about nursing practices because I’m ready to help in any way I can,” she says.
That is the core of a growing leader which was evident to The Posse Foundation, an organization that “identifies, recruits and trains individuals with extraordinary leadership potential.” The foundation ultimately selects a diverse group of 10 students (a posse) for each participating higher education institution. Those Posse Scholars receive full-tuition leadership scholarships from Posse’s partner colleges and universities.
India is here on campus, over 1200 miles from home, with her posse, and is the Fitzpatrick College of Nursing’s (FCN) first Posse Scholar.
“I became interested in Posse because of the sense of community I would have, not only in my four years of college but throughout my whole life. I was also attracted to the diversity, which has given me the opportunity to learn from people who come from different walks of life. I would say the ultimate goal of a posse is to compensate for each other’s weaknesses in order to achieve individual goals together,” explains India.
Of all the potential education partners, India chose Villanova for its “commitment to put the community first. I have always enjoyed doing community service, and Villanova has multiple service opportunities on campus. For example, the Special Olympics, MLK Day of Service, and the St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service.” University transition support through her posse mentor Dr. Wesley Proctor, assistant teaching professor, and Brian Galloway, director of the Office of Student Retention Services - and her sense of community - began with travel assistance and a “COVID-friendly New Orleans cookout” to make Villanova “feel like home.”
Making the choice to study nursing at FCN was a deliberate one. India shares, “I like Villanova’s program because of how well it prepares you for a nursing career. It’s not just about learning the facts and information, but it’s also about challenging yourself and growing as a person and thinker.” She explains that she was “very nervous coming into the nursing school, but the professors are very organized and thorough. They make it easy to stay on top of my work. Also, I thought I would have to figure out how to do most things by myself, but they are very kind and will answer any questions.”
India wants to excel academically across her four years of college while also focusing on her mental health. She has found a favorite spot on campus at the fountain near Falvey Library where she can sit between classes and relax while listening to music. “It’s important that I take care of myself to keep my mind and body strong,” she says.
While India loves to bake for friends and family in her free time at home, her career goals lean towards becoming a nurse anesthetist or nurse administrator. She hopes to do travel nursing at some point “to see the world while still working.” But for now, with travel restrictions and a full course load, India notes that “going to college in a pandemic honestly isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.” She’s able to live on campus with her roommate and, despite thinking it would be hard in the midst of safety protocols, has been able to make friends. Any downsides? India remains positive, saying, “I have been in classes with some people for months and still have never seen their faces because of masks. But other than that, it’s alright so far!”