Photo by Chris Hartlove
A sunny outlook can take you a long way, no matter where or at what point of life you begin, says McKenzie Connors, a member of the MSN: Entry into Nursing program. For Connors, it began early, in the scenic old mill town of Uxbridge, MA. “Growing up I was told, and it made a world of difference: Always be yourself. Appreciate others for who they are. And be proud of who you are, whatever that is,” she says.
Later, at Teach for America, it led her to confidently “check the box” that meant working with students with special needs—many with emotional disabilities—in grades 6 to 10. She loved it.
It lit her path to a master’s at George Mason University, where she later volunteered as a research assistant on a study of inmates that sought ways to put troubled lives back on
track. And as a DC bartender, she met her share of characters. She embraces the good in all. “I don’t ever look at somebody like there’s something wrong with them,” Connors explains. “All of our experiences make us who we are, and even bad experiences can always be turned to a positive, an opportunity for growth.”
Connors would like to become a nurse practitioner. As for specialty, she figures she’ll know it when she sees it—and check that box.
She says she could see herself in pediatrics, adding, “Psych care is going to be huge in nursing.” Then there’s working with underserved populations and who knows what else. All are in play, and all make sense. “When I reflect on the patchwork of experiences I’ve had, it all kind of comes together.”
The Carol Yoder Graduate Scholarship
Created in 1999 by Carol Sue Yoder, ’73, to honor the sacrifices of her parents Paul and Betty Yoder, who struggled to make sure their four children could attend college.
Learn more at nursing.jhu.edu/financialaid.