Outgoing and driven, Kerlyn Rodriguez knew what she wanted out of college: a first-rate nursing education and the opportunity to study abroad. And she knew she needed a really strong community to achieve those goals.
She found that at Villanova. Kerlyn sought out close relationships in the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, and also received ongoing academic and social support through the Academic Advancement Program, an initiative of the Center for Access, Success and Achievement (CASA).
“I always felt like someone was looking out for me,” Kerlyn says. In her first year, she began exploring study abroad programs with her heart set on full immersion in another country. She decided on England, where she studied nursing at the University of Manchester throughout her sophomore year. There, she amassed more than 500 clinical hours and worked one-on-one with a nurse mentor at the Manchester Royal Infirmary.
On campus or overseas, Kerlyn always felt connected to and motivated by her support system of advisers, professors and family. There was the graduate assistant who helped her with extra practice performing head-to-toe exams on patients. The adviser who was always there to give encouragement. The clinical instructor who recognized her skills and challenged her to continue to improve. And, of course, her family.
Kerlyn’s parents, who immigrated from the Dominican Republic, emphasized education as the path to a better life and have supported her in all of her endeavors. Kerlyn and three of her siblings are first-generation college graduates, and she’s well on her way to a fulfilling career in nursing.
She is now preparing for nursing licensure exams and wants to be a labor and delivery nurse. “I was able to venture out to see the world, knowing I had so many people encouraging me back at home and at Villanova,” she says.