MSJC holds graduation ceremonies for nurses

More than 40 students graduate from the Registered and Vocational nursing programs
By Diane Rhodes
December 16, 2011
Ahjile Miller found out she was pregnant with her second child the same day she received an acceptance letter from the Mt. San Jacinto College Associate Degree Nursing Program in 2010. She admits it was a tough first semester but was grateful to give birth during the summer break.
“I definitely had an edge for the next semester, which was obstetrics and pediatrics,” said Miller, of Temecula.
Miller is one of about 25 students that took part in Thursday’s Registered Nursing Unit Completion Ceremony at the San Jacinto campus theater. On Wednesday, 20 students participated in the Vocational Nursing Program’s Pinning Ceremony at the Menifee Valley campus.
Miller enrolled in the RN program because she wanted to stay in her own community to support it. Most of her family lives in the area and she had completed all her prerequisites at MSJC. Her favorite part was the clinical rotations that allowed students to put into practice all the theory learned in the skills lab.
“It puts everything into perspective and solidifies the whole picture,” said Miller.
A recent Gallup poll ranks nurses as highest among the most ethical and honest professions. Nurses consistently top the list, having ranked highest every year since its inclusion in 1999, except for 2001 when firefighters topped the list.
“Nursing is a profession that puts passion, love and inspiration in everything that is done,” said Miller. “Nurses are trusted completely because they treat people at their most vulnerable. A nurse can go home and know that they made at least one life better and that is something I am now a part of.”
Like many other students Biodun Adumadeyin, of Beaumont, entered the nursing program as a career change.
“My first degree was geology and I used to work in an exploration country in Nigeria as a petrochemical lab scientist,” he said. “(Graduation) is another success in my ambition to provide my family with a better living opportunity.”
While Fernando Gallardo was completing the Certified Nurse’s Assistant program at MSJC, he did clinical rotations at Manor Care in Hemet.
“It was there where I discovered my passion for nursing and helping people,” said Gallardo, 24. “Being at the bedside (of patients) in that long term care facility really encouraged me to pursue a career as an RN.”
As president of the student nursing group SWANS (Southwestern Association of Nursing Students) he was able to represent the nursing student body at meetings and help maintain the organization’s mission and purpose of helping members become responsible and accountable members of the nursing profession.
“I didn’t always know I wanted to be a nurse,” said Gallardo, of Winchester. “When I was in high school I thought I wanted to be a mechanical engineer.”
After a classmate told him about the nursing program, he started taking the pre-requisites and did very well so he entered the CNA courses. He said completing the RN program has been his greatest accomplishment so far but doesn’t want to stop there.
“I’m already thinking two steps ahead about what my next move is regarding my education and career opportunities as well as opportunities to join and participate in professional organizations such as the National Association of Hispanic Nurses.”
When Naznin Jakvani came to the United States five years ago she wanted to attend a college where faculty focused on individual students. She was accepted to three colleges’ nursing programs.
“I decided to choose MSJC,” said Jakvani, of Lake Elsinore. “I always wanted to be in the medical field, lawyer or a teacher.”
She said she now has the opportunity to play all three different roles by being a nurse, advocating for her patients and also educating them. Graduation is the first step toward her ambition of giving back to her community.
Nicholaus Morris, of Nuevo, said he went back to college to obtain a rewarding career that gives back to the community. During his first semester at MSJC he met his wife who convinced him that nursing would be a perfect career for him.
“MSJC’s nursing school was the perfect fit for me because they have a great reputation and they accepted students based on academic performance rather than maintaining a waiting list,” said Morris, who is married with two young children. “This is an awesome achievement that came as a result of four years of hard work and the support of my loved ones. I only hope to make the program proud as I go out into the community and accept my role as a nurse.”
Dean of Nursing and Allied Health, Kathleen Winston, Ph.D., RN, reminded the graduates that they are joining an elite group of men and women who must carry the highest ethics and honesty with them as they become members of the most ethical and honest profession.
“You are always a nurse in the eyes of the public,” said Winston. “I am proud to stand with you as your dean and now as your colleague.”
Vocational Nursing Program graduates included Cassandra Anderson Houston, Marcela Angel, Reza Bautista, Serena Blackamore, Cherie Frank, Ashleigh Fuga, Stephanie Garcia, Jerri Klaus, Jessica Ledesma, Meghin Madden, Kirsten Meredith, Amanda Miller, Staci Ortiz, Amber Paramo, Cynthia Parmley, Lora Planas, Anika Richards, Linda Rivera, Lillian Velasquez and Oluwabukola Yusuf.
Graduates from the Registered Nursing Program included Biodun Adumadeyin, Amanda Allen, Miri Baker, Anta Bradley, Kathryn Briggs, Michelle Chounlamany, Kimberly Corcoran, Fernando Gallardo, Traci Hamill, Christy Howe, Naznin Jakvani, Stacey Lindsay, Michelle McKee, Audra Medina, Ahjile Miller, Nicholaus Morris, Prachi Muley, Crystal Perry, Paige Peterson, Sally Saites, Tammy Schmiedel, Jenny Twinam, Jonathan Vuittonet and Amy Washington.
For more information on the MSJC nursing program, please visit  or call 951-639-5577.
Photos by MSJC student David Jones