SMC graduates 20-member nursing class

DOWAGIAC — On May 15, Southwestern Michigan College welcomed 20 new nurses to America’s largest healthcare profession with more than 3.8 million registered nurses nationwide. The federal government projects that more than 200,000 new RN positions will be created each year through 2026.

The Class of 2021 received associate degrees in nursing immediately following SMC’s 54th Commencement outdoors in Alumni Plaza on the Dowagiac campus.

The class joins the ranks of 3,134 SMC nursing graduates.

May graduates include: Olabisi Adekanmbi of Berrien Springs, Jessica Blank of Niles, Danielle Broyles of Benton Harbor, Lucero Delgado of Hartford, Sarah French of Niles, Joanna Ganzalez-Garcia of White Pigeon, Chance Hallas of Dowagiac, Crystal Helton of Niles, Emily Higginbotham of Buchanan, Jennifer Huntman of South Bend, Kaitlyn Kanaby of Edwardsburg, Heather Lindsley of Niles, Kayla Mullen of South Bend, Shannon Poplawski of St. Joseph, Valerie Rowan of Vandalia, Hollee Schau of Niles, Brooke Smith of Niles, Katlynne Stephan of Elkhart, Keeley Taylor of Edwardsburg and Jodi Welbaum of Niles.

Crystal Helton was presented a Lamp of Knowledge in recognition of the peer-selected Florence Nightingale Award, which embodies selflessness, compassion, thoughtfulness, team play, dependability, generosity and humility.

Alexandra West, who returned from the spring 2020 class to walk in the ceremony, said she felt grateful to SMC to get “to stand on stage in front of family and friends, have our moment and gain closure after a long, unpredictable year.”

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