Student Spotlight: Lisa Roncoli
Lisa Roncoli was thrown into the world of health care when her dad was diagnosed with cancer.
"Our family attended his doctor’s appointments, chemo treatments, dealt with various surgeries and procedures, and we took many notes along the way," she said. "I met some really bad nurses but also some awesome ones. The nurses who my dad adored made an impression on me. I kept questioning them about their job and education and I was intrigued at how they managed to make my dad smile on days he felt so horrible. I wanted a rewarding career that would allow ME to become that person to make others smile."
It was a change that Roncoli was ready to make. Already armed with an associate's degree in Graphic Arts from College of DuPage and a bachelor's degree in Marketing an Communications, she has worked in the printing industry since the age of 17, starting off at a small quick print shop and moving up into production management/project manager positions over the years.
"It has been a great career for me. Every day is different, so it never gets boring," she said. "But knowing that printing is a dying industry, I knew I needed to find a new career that would be around another 25 years. Since I was interested in nursing already, I took Anatomy and Physiology at a university and they had 42 cadavers we worked on. I went from being afraid of them to loving that class. After that cadaver lab, I was hooked!"
Roncoli spoke with an advisor at College of DuPage and immediately started taking the prerequisite classes for the Nursing program. The schedule was flexible enough so she could continue working full time while finishing her prerequisites. After starting the program, she cut back to part-time.
While at COD, Roncoli has earned three Foundation scholarships: the H. Claire Walters RN Memorial Scholarship, the Aveling Memorial Scholarship and the Illinois Health Improvement Association Scholarship. Because she already had a bachelor's degree, she was not eligible for financial aid, so the scholarships -- combined with the affordable tuition -- have financially allowed her to continue in the program.
"I am so grateful to these generous donors. I was worried about the loss of my full-time income as I went through the program, and thanks to these wonderful people, working only part time has worked out perfectly. I can’t thank them enough!" she said. "Someday, I hope to have an opportunity to help future students with their education."
Roncoli plans to graduate from COD in May 2014 and is considering a master's degree in Nursing through an RN to MSN program available for people who already have a bachelor's degree. She would like to become an Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN) and work with cancer patients.
The path to a new career has been well worth it, and Roncoli is impressed with College of DuPage's program and instructors.
"I have been told by many people in the health care industry that they prefer COD nursing grads over some of the big university grads. They say that we are more prepared and better at nursing skills than many BSNs," she said. "The classes are small and I can’t express how dedicated the nursing instructors are. They make the Nursing program so successful. They go out of their way to make time for their students. Their passion for teaching is amazing, and their goal is to help the students succeed."
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